Title page for ETD etd-08012012-040434

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Waterman, Donna Ruth
URN etd-08012012-040434
Title Curbside collection of recyclable materials :fifteen cases studies in the United States
Degree Master of Science
Department Environmental Sciences and Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Sherrard, Joseph H. Committee Chair
Conn, W. David Committee Member
Cox, William E. Committee Member
Geller, E. Scott Committee Member
  • Refuse and refuse disposal
Date of Defense 1988-03-01
Availability restricted
Fifteen curbside recycling programs in the United States, from communities representing

a variety of economic, geographic and political situations, were reviewed in this study.

Case studies were analyzed and discussed with respect to four areas of interest to program

planners: administration, operations, promotion and evaluation. No objective

rating of the programs was attempted, but approaches were reviewed with respect to

their ability to satisfy the goals of the programs. Comparisons of participation rates,

waste diversion rates, and costs were used cautiously because of the inconsistencies in

how the data were developed from program to program.

Administrative approaches found in the case studies included: (a) complete ownership

of the collection and processing system by municipalities; (b) contracted service by private

waste management firms; (c) contracted or subsidized service by non-profit organizations;

and (d) combinations of municipal, private, and non-profit services.

Operational systems were examined with respect to the effectiveness of the service in

stimulating participation, given the practical, political, and budgetary constraints. Variables

of operation are closely related and include: (a) which materials are collected; (b)

the degree of materials separation required; (c) the type of collection vehicle(s) used; (d)

collection frequency and coincidence with garbage collection; (e) the provision of in home

containers; and (t) the extent of post-collection materials processing.

Four categories of promotional techniques used in curbside recycling programs were

discussed: (a) publicity and education; (b) personal contact; (c) economic incentives; and

(d) ordinances mandating source-separation. The impacts of these techniques on participation

in the case study programs were discussed.

Techniques for evaluating the efficacy of curbside recycling programs were also discussed. Participation rates, waste diversion rates, and cost were reviewed with respect

to current usage and recommendations were made for increasing their usefulness as indicators

of the success of programs or program elements.

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