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Basic Information

Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.

Image of recycling containers placed curbside.

Communities across the country face the challenge of making recycling programs cost-effective. Though many communities express broad public support for recycling, there is a perception that recycling programs are costly and outmoded. However, by taking advantage of opportunities to improve efficiency, many communities are discovering that recycling makes more economic sense than they previously realized.

Recycling has significant economic benefits. It prevents emissions of many greenhouse gases, reduces pollutants, saves energy, conserves resources, and reduces the need for new landfills and combustors. In 2006, Americans recycled 32.5 percent of municipal solid waste, which prevented the release of 52 million metric tons of carbon equivalent—the same as taking 41.2 million cars off the road.

EPA created the Tools for Local Government Recycling Programs website to help local governments and community leaders learn how to make recycling work in their area. On this website, local officials will learn how to:

An online Residential Recycling Program Calculator is also provided to help local governments analyze current recycling program costs and test the effectiveness of implementing various program changes on the bottom line.

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