Mixed Waste Processing Facility Study
RSE conducted an assessment of the recoverability of a specific commodity at six mixed waste processing facilities throughout the U.S. The facility assessments identified the variables that impact commodity quality, and identified advantages and disadvantages of mixed waste processing. Buyers of the commodity were also interviewed to gain their insights. Findings from the study were used to help the client develop a policy position on mixed waste processing.
Manufacturing Facility Waste Assessment and End-to-End Analysis
RSE conducted a waste audit and end-to-end analysis at Estee Lauder’s Melville, NY facility. The audit included collecting a sample of the types and quantities of materials generated in different stages of production, and annualizing the quantities of each material type. Annual quantities of waste material diverted and disposed were estimated by material type and facility zone. RSE observed facility operations and identified strategies to increase diversion of materials and decrease materials management costs.
Multi-City Cartons Recovery Study
RSE conducted waste audits in five major U.S. cities that accept cartons for recycling to measure the residential generation and recycling of cartons. The study included single-family and multi-family homes. RSE carried out an analysis of several material types, and assessed demographic impacts as well as policy and programmatic impacts. The study, conducted for the Carton Council of North America, included recommendations and development of a protocol for future carton recovery audits. These results are being used by the Carton Council to promote strategies to help communities enhance their recycling programs.
Statewide Recycling Infrastructure Assessment
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) works to prevent pollution, facilitate recycling, and conserve resources in Minnesota. RSE was commissioned by the MPCA to evaluate the state’s recycling and solid waste infrastructure and investment needs. To conduct this study, RSE:
- Analyzed recycling data for each of Minnesota’s 87 counties;
- Analyzed data from recycling facilities, filling data gaps with facility interviews;
- Managed a subcontractor that conducted a statewide survey of recycling facilities and site visits to key recycling processing facilities to better assess their age, condition, and ability to recycle increased quantities of materials;
- Performed a markets assessment, which included comparing the quantities of different grades of materials collected for recycling in the state compared to in-state recycled market capacity and regional market capacity;
- Used geographic information system (GIS) mapping to illustrate waste flows and identify opportunities for joint planning and education among counties.
The results of the study were used by MPCA to promote regional approaches to materials management through regional planning and joint action agencies, and to evaluate requests for capital grants and expansion of existing waste and recycling facilities.
Public Space Recycling Pilot Study
RSE was contracted by The American Beverage Association to manage a pilot project to implement and test public space recycling. The pilot program consisted of the installation of 126 public space recycling receptacles in several locations throughout five Palm Beach County communities. The goals of the pilot program were to:
- Measure and improve public space recycling performance;
- Create an effective, active, and sustainable recycling system for beverage containers generated in the public space for each host jurisdiction;
- Create opportunities for the public to recycle their beverage containers to reduce litter;
- Identify and demonstrate the use of functional and visually appealing recycling receptacles; and
- Increase public awareness of the opportunities and convenience of recycling in the host jurisdiction.
The project included assessing waste management behaviors before and after implementation of the new recycling receptacles and associated communications programs. The program was successful in capturing a significant amount of used beverage containers that would otherwise have been disposed, and in decreasing litter behaviors.