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Insufficient Progress

Percent of waste diverted from landfills by recycling efforts

Maintenance & Growth | Desired Measure Result: Above Target

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Items diverted include city-approved recyclables, bulk waste and yard waste. Proper recycling reduces the contamination rate at the Materials Resource Facility (MRF), increases the life of the landfill and reduces the city’s cost for waste reduction.  This measure tracks the percentage of tons of materials collected from residential, small commercial businesses, drop-off stations and the illegal dumping collections that are diverted from landfills through the city’s recycling and yard waste mulching programs. 

The diversion rate has hovered just below the 25% goal since 2006 and fell below 20% in FY2018. There are three main contributing factors to the lower rate. 1) The volume of residential garbage has increased. 2) The volume of residential bulk trash has increased. 3) The volume of yard waste has decreased. This decrease compounds the problem because it cannot offset the increased garbage volume. Additional challenges that affect the City’s ability to increase the diversion rate include the City’s fast-paced population growth and the need for continued education of residents. Educational efforts include focusing on the importance and proper methods of recycling, re-use, and composting. Key waste streams include yard waste and brush and using the drop off stations for electronics recycling, household hazardous waste disposal, and donations to Goodwill. Some of the efforts to improve the diversion rate include targeting areas that have higher recycling contamination or low recycling participation rates with increased cart audits, sharing recycle audit results with residents located in the recycle audit routes, and residential education material and videos via Facebook and the Community Engagement Office.