Have you ever wondered how your local government plays a role in sustainability and tackling issues such as littering and recycling? Well, it turns out that your local government, state government, and federal government are all making strides to improve waste management practices in your community and across the country. Keep reading to find out how government programs are advancing waste management and making strides to be more sustainable on multiple government levels. You might have already noticed some of these changes in your own community at one point or heard about them in the news.
Exploring Waste Management Goals
Waste management advancements and changes must start somewhere. Without clear goals and plans to achieve them, government programs wouldn’t be able to get far off the ground. Fortunately, according to websites and government institutions like the EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency), we can see clear plans and even some examples that are starting to be implemented along the way. Many goals start at the community level, where a lot of waste management operations take place, such as goals for diverting waste from landfills or committing to a zero-waste goal and plan. Several states across the country are already starting to see positive changes.
Expanding Municipal Collections
One place that government programs want to start is at the collection level of waste management. These changes begin at the residential and municipal level as local governments adjust for better waste management practices. For example, some cities are starting to expand their waste pickup collections to encompass recyclables where they weren’t collecting these materials before. The small town of Cartersville, GA, adopted a curbside recycling program in 2012 after the city funded the residential recycling program. This shows that even small cities can expand their sustainability efforts through their local government programs.
Focusing Sights on Compost
Composting is one major way that we can separate reusable materials from landfill waste, keeping more materials out of methane-producing landfills. And increasing numbers of government programs are starting to realize the potential of composting. Another goal of residential government programs is to expand existing waste collections to include composting pickups. From California to New York, cities across the country are adopting compost collections as a part of their local trash pickups. Some cities are even seeing a reduction in solid waste tonnage by over 30%, such as in the case of Hamilton, MA. Collections are also taking place in high composting-generating businesses, such as restaurants and grocery stores.
Aiding Businesses and Institutions
Change doesn’t happen overnight; government institutions understand this. Some businesses and facilities might not understand the importance of waste management advancements. Even if they do, some businesses might not know where to start or how they can improve their sustainability efforts. This is why government programs are also extending help to educate businesses and other institutions on waste management practices. These programs provide technical training and assistance to businesses and event coordinators for settings such as sports stadiums, hotel conferences, and even private venues. For example, the city of Eugene, OR, worked with Olympic organizing committees to make the 2012 Olympic Trials a zero-waste event.
Updating Waste Management for Better Sanitation
Waste management programs are important for building sustainable habits and protecting the planet, but they can also impact smaller city goals, such as sanitation and beautification. Littering is a common concern in almost every community or venue. Trash and litter piling up along the side of the road can be unsanitary at worst and unsightly at best. And some cities, such as New York, have a reputation for littering. This is exactly what New York officials have been focusing attention on in recent months. As of April 2022, the Mayor of New York pledged funding to the Department of Sanitation to place commercial outdoor trash cans in places where trash bags collect on city streets. This is just one step that cities are taking to look and feel more sanitary and tackle littering issues.
Supporting Drop-Off Programs
Some communities may not be able to extend recycling and composting collections to the entire community. Other times, collections might just be out of the budget for smaller towns. In these cases, some communities are expanding their waste management programs to feature a variety of drop-off facilities. These types of drop-off facilities support recyclables, compost materials, electronic waste, and more. Previously, a community member’s only option to properly dispose of these items may have been to ship them out to participating recycling services. However, opening community drop-off centers offers convenience and a new avenue of disposal, especially for larger, bulkier items that would be hard to ship. Electronic waste like computers, monitors, televisions, consoles, and more can damage the environment when incorrectly sent to landfills, so supporting pick-up facilities is a great step in the right direction.
Providing Community Outreach and Education
Finally, these government programs are a fantastic way to promote better waste disposal habits, but the only way to see any real change is to get the entire community involved. Just because the right disposal options are present doesn’t mean people will use them. That is why providing community outreach and education is the final goal of government outreach programs in the waste management field. Government programs are providing informational content for community websites, directories, venues, events, and more. This helps communities set up educational events with the right materials. From there, the community can start to set up their own neighborhood composting centers, workshops, and more.
These are just some examples of how government programs are advancing waste management. Government institutions like the EPA are keeping track of these positive changes and further implementing what works. Thanks to these efforts, you might be able to see changes in your own community soon or read about them in a local newsletter.
Here at Trash Cans Depot, we also offer communities and businesses opportunities to advance their waste management habits in the form of sustainable trash and recycling receptacles. Find the perfect trash or recycling bin to prevent litter and boost sustainability at your business or venue!