CM: SMMP Credit – Adoption of Diversion and Recycling Goals 

The Big Picture

SMMP Credit: Adoption of Diversion and Recycling Goals 

(Local Government: 1-3 points; Industry: 1-5 Points, Non-Reciprocal) (Qualitative)

Credit Summary

This credit aims to increase recycling, composting, and other utilizations of waste to minimize harm to the environment and increase quality. This may include diverting waste from landfills by recycling or recovering reusable materials. Before this can be done, it is important to calculate the current waste diversion rate and draft policies that may be helpful in increasing waste diversion. 

 

Impact Summary

Landfills, where the majority of MSW goes, can contain toxic chemicals that have the potential to leak as leachate into the groundwater supply. Incinerators, which burn MSW as a method of disposal, produce toxins like dioxins, carbon dioxide, and more. In order to avoid increasing the amount of waste sent to landfills and incinerators, it is important to implement policies and programs that focus on alternative waste disposal methods. 

 

Submittal Summary

         

UPLOAD

Local Governments & Industry Leaders
  • A document demonstrating calculations for current waste diversion rate AND documentation verifying established policies aimed at increasing waste diversion rates.
    1. These rates must be 15 percent higher than the current National Average Recycling Rate for MSW and 25 percent higher than the National Average Recycling rate for C&D for tier 1 achievement and increase with respective tiers.

 

Case Study and Benefits

The Canadian province of Nova Scotia, introduced a new solid waste disposal strategy in 1990 to increase waste diversion rates. Prior to the introduction of this plan, the province had very poor diversion rates and only 5 percent of the population had access to curbside recycling. The province’s new plan centered around: planning and implementation, restricting disposal, increased system funding, increased recovery of materials, and increased use of diverted materials. This approach was extremely successful; Nova Scotia was able to meet the goal of a 50 percent diversion rate just 5 years after implementation.

 

Intent and Requirements

Intent 

Increase recycling, composting and other beneficial utilization of waste through non-harmful methods and increase the productivity of alternative disposal methods for the highest quality outcomes.

Local Government Requirements

Adopt a policy with recycling and landfill diversion goals that exceed U.S. national average rates as reported by the EPA and the C&D Recycling Association. The policy must require reporting achieved recycling/diversion goals and require that recycling and diversion methods yield the highest quality outcome/product of disposed-of materials.

C&D Diversion Facilities must obtain CORR certification to be considered a viable diversion facility within this standard. (https://www.recyclingcertification.org/resources/)

Tier 1: (1 Point)

Adopt a policy goal to achieve recycling and diversion rates 15 percent higher than the national Average Recycling Rate for MSW and 25 percent higher than the national average recycling rate for C&D.

  •  Residue from recycling facilities should not exceed 20 percent.

Tier 2: (+1 Point)

Adopt a policy goal to achieve recycling and diversion rates 20 percent higher than the National Average Recycling Rate for MSW and 30 percent higher than the national average recycling rate for C&D.

  • Residue from recycling facilities should not exceed 15 percent

Tier 3: (+1 Point)

Adopt a policy to achieve a Zero Waste goal.

Note: Alternative Compliance Path Plan/Policy must be updated annually when state and/or federal average diversion rates are made available.

Policy must adopt or reference the SWEEP Diversion Calculation Methodology and SWEEP Guidelines for Waste Characterization and Waste Generation Studies as the basis of the calculations. 

Industry Requirements

Adopt a corporate-wide business goal that sets recycling and landfill diversion goals that exceed U.S. national average recycling and diversion rates as reported by the EPA and/or the C&D Recycling Association.The implementation program for the business goal must require reporting achieved recycling/diversion figures.

C&D Diversion Facilities must obtain CORR certification to be considered a viable diversion facility within this standard. (https://www.recyclingcertification.org/resources/)

Tier 1: (1 Point)

Adopt a company business goal to achieve recycling and diversion rates 15 percent higher than the national average recycling rate for MSW and 25 percent higher than the national average recycling rate for C&D.

  • Residue from recycling facilities should not exceed 20 percent.

Tier 2: (2 Points)

Adopt a company business goal to achieve recycling and diversion rates 20 percent higher than the National Average Recycling Rate for MSW and 30 percent higher than the national average recycling rate for C&D.

  • Residue from recycling facilities should not exceed 15 percent.

Tier 3: (2 Points)

Adopt a company business goal to achieve Zero Waste goal within a period of 3-5 years. 

Note: Alternative Compliance Path Plan/Policy must be updated annually when state and/or federal average diversion rates are made available.

Policy must adopt or reference the SWEEP Diversion Calculation Methodology and SWEEP Guidelines for Waste Characterization and Waste Generation Studies9 as the basis of the calculations. 

 

Why We Care

Through the adoption of diversion and recycling goals local governments and waste management companies have the ability to make an immediate and substantial impact for the communities of which they govern and operate. Increasing the recovery of reusable materials, and diversion rates of recyclable materials and organic waste from landfills, reduces air, water and land pollution, which can be harmful to both people and the planet. Depositing solid waste in landfills has become increasingly expensive to dispose of, and as such, is economically responsible to divert reusable and recyclable materials from landfills. 

The disposal of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) has been a growing concern over the past 30 years. Landfills, where the majority of MSW goes, can contain toxic chemicals that have the potential to leak, as leachate, into the groundwater supply. Incinerators, which burn MSW as a method of disposal, produce toxins like dioxins and greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, methane and many more. In order to avoid increasing the amount of waste sent to landfills and incinerators, it is important to implement policies and programs that focus on alternative waste disposal methods. 

 

How to Meet the Requirements

First, calculate either the national average diversion rates or local state government average diversion rates for municipal solid waste and construction and demolition materials. Then based on the calculations, begin to draft new policy, plans, and projects to increase diversion rates. This may include working with local recycling facilities or creating new materials recovery programs. 

Currently, the US national average recycling rate is 32.1% of total MSW generated (EPA). The EPA page linked is a helpful resource for examining trends in waste generation and recycling nationally. 

To achieve the goals of tiers 2 and 3, the same path must be followed with higher diversion rates. To meet these goals, it may be helpful to implement a more diverse range of policy. Suggestions for this include adopting a policy that focuses on multiple diversion strategies, such as recycling and composting, to reduce the amount of waste going to landfills.

 

Required Documentation

  • Documentation of diversion rates
  • Proof of policies and programs that increase solid waste diversion from disposal 

 

Case Studies & In-Depth Information

The disposal of solid waste has become a growing concern in recent years, with municipalities and businesses struggling to find adequate alternatives to landfill disposal. Landfills are essentially storage units for waste, and there are often useful recoverable materials that are lost. North America in particular has struggled with switching to more sustainable methods of waste disposal. The Canadian province of Nova Scotia implemented a new solid waste strategy in 1990, and in five years had diverted 50% of its solid waste disposal compared with rates from 1989. 

In 1989, the province had very poor waste disposal methods. It largely depended on dumps and open air burning, with only five percent of the province having access to curbside recycling. In order to meet the goal of diverting 50 percent of solid waste, Nova Scotia needed a uniform, province-wide plan. When creating the new model, waste was reframed as something that possesses positive economic value, rather than a negative liability. The province created a new plan for how to manage MSW which centered around: planning and implementation, restricting disposal, increased system funding, increased recovery of materials, and increased use of diverted materials. This approach was extremely successful; Nova Scotia was able to meet the goal of a 50 percent diversion rate just 5 years after implementation. 

The most notable part of this case study is Nova Scotia’s ability to connect the economy and the environment with this program. One of the key reasons the new program was so successful is that business leaders began to view MSW as a resource rather than a problem.1

 

Referenced Standards

Definitions

Alternative Disposal Methods

These are waste disposal methods other than using landfills. This includes recycling, recapturing recoverable and repurposable materials, etc. 

Corporate-Wide Business Goal

Writing Help Definition: Corporate Goals are targets set by an organization as specific, quantifiable outcomes that it commits to attain in order to achieve its corporate mission and objectives.

CORR Certification 

CORR Protocol and Certification of Real Rates– A protocol used to provide a statistically reliable and transparent method for measuring the recovery of mixed construction and demolition (C&D) materials at combined C&D/MSW processing facilities. To become Recycling Certification Institute (RCI) certified, combined C&D/MSW facilities must calculate a combined facility C&D recovery rate for mixed C&D materials using this protocol. 

Landfill Diversion Rates

Busch Systems: A landfill diversion rate is a calculation explaining the amount of waste that is diverted away from landfills. 

National Average Recycling Rate (MSW and C&D) (defined in credit as 34.7%)

EPA 2017 National Average Recycling Rate: 35.2%

Recycling Rate

Busch Systems: The recycling rate is a calculation that is used to determine the percentage of diverted refuse is recyclable.

Residue (from recycling facilities)

WM Definition: Trash, or “residue,” contaminates recyclable materials, turning the whole bin into trash.

State Average Recycling Rate 

  • Eunomia Report 

SWEEP Diversion Calculation Methodology

SWEEP Guidelines for Waste Characterization and Waste Generation Studies

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