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For more information on how to build an exceptional recycling program for your community, click here.

Encouraging proper recycling and waste disposal is not an easy task to begin with, and it can be even more challenging on a community-wide scale. That’s why we’ve compiled the 9 best reads that will help you implement an award-winning waste and recycling program!

Standardize your program, add more recycling stations, reduce contamination—these are all the typical phrases you’ll hear in the recycling community about how to improve diversion rates and reduce costs for your municipality. Although these practices are tried and true, there are many moving parts to each that makes tackling them successfully a little more difficult—but that’s where you come in!

The team at Busch Systems has put together the following essential list of 9 best resources to help you learn how to run a spectacular recycling & waste management program. Even better, they’re all free! Okay, yes. Some may ask for you to share your email address to access some of them, but that’s a small price to pay for the invaluable information you’ll get!

If you know of some more resources that’ll help your fellow municipal waste management collegues, please comment below with your suggestions and we’ll add them to the list. And don’t forget to bookmark this page, so you can refer back to it when you’ve got some more time to brush up on your recycling & waste management skills for your community.

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    1. Recycling Makes Sen$e: Waste Preventions and Recycling Guide for Businesses, Schools, and Municipal Offices [pdf] ~60 min read. This guide is extremely helpful in breaking down the necessary steps that are required for improving your municipality’s waste and recycling program from the inside out. It focuses on the importance of waste reduction and recycling by outlining a “Step-by-step approach to strategic materials management” that answers all of your “where do I begin” questions and carries you from early implementation to effective communication and marketing your new program.
    2. US EPA Municipal Toolkit on Improving your Recycling Program [Webpage] ~45 min read. This toolkit is an invaluable resource that can help you take your recycling program to the next level. 8 recommendations are broken down and explained in detail including tips on how to tackle communication tactics, collection techniques, and recycling legislation.

    3. The Essential Guide to Modernizing your Waste Program [pdf] ~30 min read. This guide outlines 15 ways to “Amp up” your recycling and waste program using modern marketing strategies and data from your current program. It expands on extremely important communication tactics that will help you get your community on board with recycling.

    4. Successful Recycling Programs, Best Practices, And Diversion Potential [Report] ~100 min read. This report analyzes Michigan’s 2016 processes and findings after implementing new recycling initiatives. 12 different tactics were outlined in the report including education programs, curbside recycling methods, funding, capacity, and policy supporting. Many of the challenges and successes within this report have the potential to help municipalities all over America expand on their current recycling programs!

    5. Recycling Envy: 10 American Cities with Excellent Practices [Blog] ~25 min read. When trying to improve your own program, it’s never a bad idea to borrow strategies that other cities or municipalities have already implemented effectively. In fact, it can help minimize the risk of trying something new since these ideas have already been proven successful in another region. This article gives a brief outline for some of the initiatives that other American cities have had success with, which could help inspire you to implement similar practices into your new program!

    6. Waste 360’s “Nothing wasted!” Podcast on Municipal Recycling Issues [Podcast] ~65 min listen. If you’re getting tired of reading and looking for a hands-free way to learn, this podcast episode explores some of the issues that other Municipalities are facing when it comes to recycling. The roundtable discussion includes Mark Bowers, solid waste programs division manager for the city of Sunnyvale, Calif., Department of Public Works; Michael McCoy, executive director of the Iowa Metro Waste Authority; and Waneta Trabert, director of the Sustainable Materials Management Division for the city of Newton, Mass., Department of Public Works.

    7. Economic Tools to Reduce Household Waste a Related Greenhouse Gas Emissions [pdf] ~90 min read. One of the major motivations behind recycling is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to lessen the environmental impact of landfills. Understanding this topic is important when considering ways to improve your municipality’s recycling program as it outlines some of the major environmental consequences of choosing not to recycle. This information can be a major asset when it comes to communicating your program to residents, as it directly outlines the environmental benefits of recycling. It also provides valuable economic tools and suggestions on how to successfully lower your community’s GHG emission contribution.

    8. Additional Efforts Could Increase Municipal Recycling [Study] ~90 min read. The United States Government Accountability Offices produced a report on effective efforts made by municipalities to increase their recycling within their cities. The report found that the three most effective practices were making recycling convenient and easy for their residents, offering financial incentives for recycling, and conducting public education and outreach. The report explains the benefits of these three methods along with other practices in hopes to encourage other municipalities to adopt the same policies within their recycling programs.


And there you have it! Plenty of resources to get your journey to sustainable waste management started. We’ll continue to update this page as we see more great information come down the pipe. And again, if you think we’ve missed some more resources, feel free to comment below.

Stay tuned!

For more information on how to build an exceptional recycling program for your community, click here.