Monday, June 11, 2007

USA - Seattle publishes study charting route to zero waste

The Mayor of Seattle recently published the results of a study to show how Seattle can get its recycling strategy back on track. Three major goals of the study were to:
  • Provide an objective, third-party evaluation of Seattle's work to date
  • Identify potential strategies that could push Seattle beyond its current 60% diversion goal
  • Evaluate the effect that implementing such strategies would have on facilities

The City of Seattle has had a long-established goal to recycle 60% of all the waste generated by its residents and businesses. In 2002, the city's recycling rate had stagnated at less than 38%.

In November 2003, Mayor Nickels proposed 10 innovative programmes to help the city reach 60% diversion by 2010, including a recycling ordinance for businesses and residents, free recycling services for small businesses and a residential food waste collection program. By 2005, Seattle's recycling rate had sharply risen to 44% , with even more gains expected.

The newly completed study, jointly sponsored by the City Council is in two parts. The main report is in Volume 1 (PDF). All the strategies that were considered for the report are contained in Volume 2 (PDF).

Seattle Public Utilities considers its existing solid waste recycling, transfer and disposal facilities, constructed in the 1960s, to be outdated, poorly designed, and lacking in adequate environmental controls to meet the city's current and future solid waste goals. The city's decision on its solid waste facilities plan is scheduled to be made by July 2007.

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