- During a recent EPA webinar on methods to increase diversion rates, Fort Collins, CO environmental planner Caroline Mitchell told listeners that a successful landfill ban requires continued public education and enforcement, which sometimes presents challenges. She also recommended that cities do not impose bans without also implementing mandatory recycling service for the banned materials.
- Mitchell spoke from experience, as the city of Fort Collins imposed a landfill ban on cardboard in 2013. While it did show an increase in recycling rates and collection subscriptions, it was a challenge to implement through the city's open-market system, as reported in Resource Recycling.
- In other efforts to increase diversion rates, the city of Fort Collins began an "internal waste tax" on material that is hauled to the landfill to give city crews a financial incentive for recycling. This process led to a 50% reduction of material self-hauled to the landfill in the past five years.
While cities look to create diversion tactics that are customized for the needs and goals of their communities, many are looking to landfill bans to keep certain materials out of the landfill.
"It's hard to have a ban itself be a primary motivator for getting new locations to sign up for recycling service," said Mitchell, as reported in Resource Recycling.
This exact topic was discussed at the recent SWANApalooza trade show, during which representatives from Waste Management, Integrated Waste Management Consulting, and SCS Engineers went head-to-head in debating the pros and cons of landfill bans on organic materials.
Susan Robinson of Waste Management had similar sentiments during this discussion as Mitchell did during the webinar, stating, "We always say no ban without a plan. Part of that is enforcement. A ban without enforcement is a disaster waiting to happen, and we've seen that in some instances. So when there is enforcement that drives investment … we can see a lot of activity happening to create efficient management of different types of materials."