The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) developed a strategy for significantly increasing the rates of municipal solid waste reduction and recovery in North America in 2003. Ironically, the study and recommendations largely still hold true, despite today’s economic climate.
SWANA concluded that increasing the overall reduction and recovery rate to 65 percent over a ten year period would be an ambitious goal that would require a 28 percent increase in reduction and recovery over current levels while holding per capita waste generation rates level. The document concludes with the following policy recommendations that would build upon past successes and create incentives to reduce waste and achieve higher levels of solid waste recovery:
Recommendation 1: Encourage more extensive product stewardship by product designers, manufacturers, retailers and consumers.
Recommendation 2: Expand efforts by Federal, State and Provincial governments to develop markets for recycled materials and recovered energy.
Recommendation 3: Provide financial incentives for investments in recycling, composting and the use of recycled materials.
Recommendation 4: Include waste-to-energy and conversion technologies in renewable portfolio standards and green power programs.
Recommendation 5: Encourage the recovery and use of landfill gas by reinstating federal tax credits and through renewable portfolio standards and green power programs.
Recommendation 6: Support technology transfer and research and development efforts that have the potential to significantly increase waste recovery rates, as well as work to reduce the barriers to their implementation.