The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has partnered with national nonprofit The Recycling Partnership to conduct a research project on curbside recycling in the U.S. While the research will specifically focus on EPA regions 3, 4 and 5, it will also provide a national overview.
“The breadth and depth of data this project will produce, coupled with the meaningful analysis of trends and potential areas of improvement, will allow the EPA to more effectively support communities through their transitions to sustainable materials management,” said EPA Region 4 Division Director Alan Farmer in a press release. “The potential for positive impact cannot be overstated, and our collaboration with The Recycling Partnership is shaping up to be fruitful indeed.”
For this project, The Recycling Partnership will study 400 curbside recycling programs in selected communities located in the most populated cities across the nation and identify 17 distinct markets for each. It will also study a number of other communities to provide a national overview.
The nonprofit will also catalog information on collection frequencies, tonnages, funding mechanisms, service providers, 39 categories of recyclable materials and more. This collected data will be used to identify trends and gaps in the curbside recycling infrastructure and create a detailed summary report and a fully accessible database.
“The secondary material stream begins with local programs, and there is a great deal of untapped potential there,” said The Recycling Partnership’s Technical Assistance Lead Cody Marshall in a press release. “Looking at snapshots of programs across the country will allow us to cross-reference best practices and pinpoint opportunities to increase recovery. Those insights will in turn allow national and federal organizations to create targeted action plans.”
The project is currently underway and results are slated to be released as early as September 2016. The final results are expected to be revealed directly after that in October 2016.