Waste > Recycling

Recycling is the most widely practiced of all environmentally preferable activities, but care needs to be taken in order to design an effective and efficient program, especially in large facilities.

Your waste hauler may be a valuable source of information. Also consider joining the EPA’s free WasteWise program, which provides members with several benefits, including a technical assistance team that will help you conduct a waste audit, reduce waste, and implement a recycling program. In addition, it is helpful to engage concession operators when implementing your facility’s recycling program.

For listings of recycling service providers near your city, visit Earth 911’s Business Resources directory and the Environmental Yellow Pages.

Calculate the environmental benefits of recycling.

For a comprehensive discussion on waste reduction, see EPA’s Resource Conservation section on reduction and reuse.

In addition, the following guides are excellent resources for those wishing to improve their existing recycling programs:

Recycling can save money

Recycling and composting can save money through avoided disposal and hauling costs, although market conditions vary by material and by region. Many recyclable items can also be sold on the market as a source of revenue. A waste audit can help your organization identify these potential savings and revenue opportunities. Many companies have found significant savings through their own efforts to increase recycling.

By introducing a comprehensive recycling program aimed at zero waste, the Seattle Mariners have increased the recycling rate at Safeco Field from 12% in 2005, to over 70% in 2010. Through increased recycling, the development of an aggressive composting program, and avoided landfilling, the Mariners saved $70,000 on waste disposal between 2007 and 2010. The Mariners have continued to improve these efforts, averaging an 82% recycling rate between 2010-2011.

Since 2007, the Cleveland Indians have cut their annual waste in half by installing balers and separating recyclables onsite at Progressive Field. In 2007 the ballpark generated 1261.6 tons of trash; by 2010 this was down to 613.4 tons, a 49% reduction. The reduced number of trash compactor pickups combined with money from selling recycled materials paid for the stadium’s recycling equipment upgrades within six months, and now save the Club $50,000 annually.

Through an aggressive waste diversion program at the Rose Garden Arena, the Portland Trail Blazers divert 80 percent of their waste from landfills. They accomplish this by maintaining extensive recycling stations for visitors and a food-waste composting program that includes vendor participation. These projects together have helped divert more than 800 tons from landfills each year. The Trail Blazers achieve an annual savings of over $200,000 in operating expenses by keeping recyclables out of the landfill.

For more examples of how smart waste practices can save your organization money, see the following websites:

New York City Recycling Case Studies
StopWaste.org Partnership Success Stories
Institute for Local Self Reliance – Recycling Record Setters

Environmental Benefits

Recycling is one of the easiest and most widely accepted activities used to advance sustainability. Setting up a recycling program is relatively simple and a great way to involve staff at all levels in your organization’s environmental priorities. Recycling protects habitat, saves energy, water, and resources such as forests, fossil fuels, and metals. By recycling paper, cardboard, metals, and plastics, you can help reduce the harmful impacts associated with the extraction and processing of these resources, including oil spills, deforestation, biodiversity loss, and water pollution. Manufacturing products from recycled content is less polluting than producing the same products from newly harvested or extracted materials. Making paper from recycled fibers, for example, uses less energy, less water, and produces less air and water pollution.

Additional Resources

EPA – Recycling
National Recycling Coalition
Recycling Environmental Benefits Calculator
EPA’s Waste Reduction Model (WARM) Calculator
Comprehensive Guide to Venue and Event Recycling
EPA – Stadium Recycling: How to Get Started
Recycling Advocates – A Guide to Reducing Waste at Any Event
WasteWise – How to Start or Expand a Recycling Program
Minnesota Guide to Source Reduction