Resource Conservation and Recovery: A Guide to Developing and Implementing Greenhouse Gas Reduction Programs
Local governments have a significant opportunity to reduce waste management costs, air pollution, GHG emissions, and energy consumption through resource conservation and recovery. They are typically responsible for managing the waste generated within their municipalities and can implement strategies to help lower the costs to their communities. Solid waste management uses energy and generates GHG emissions, air pollutants, and air toxics. The impacts are even greater when products are viewed from a life-cycle perspective: the extraction, production, use, and disposal of goods and materials are responsible for an estimated 42 percent of U.S. GHG emissions.
Local governments can reduce these costs and emissions by encouraging source reduction and the reuse of products and materials, as well as composting and recycling wastes generated by their communities. These strategies are collectively known as resource conservation and recovery. This guide describes the process of developing and implementing resource conservation and recovery measures, using real-world examples.
This guide describes how local governments can work with residents, private companies, and other groups to decrease waste generation and divert more waste from landfills and combustion. It is designed to be used by local government agencies, mayors, city or county councils, and local and regional waste managers. This guide is intended to provide readers with an understanding of principles, technical strategies, and potential funding opportunities for resource conservation and recovery.
The guide describes the benefits of resource conservation and recovery; technologies and practices for resource conservation and recovery; key participants and their roles; policies and other initiatives for launching resource conservation and recovery programs; implementation strategies for effective programs; costs and funding opportunities; federal, state, and other programs that could help local governments with information or financial and technical assistance; and finally, two case studies of local governments- Kansas City, Miss. and Palm Beach County, Fla. - that have successfully implemented resource conservation and recovery programs in their communities. Additional examples of successful implementation are provided throughout the guide.
The guide is part of EPA’s Local Government Climate and Energy Strategy Series, which provides a comprehensive, straightforward overview of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction strategies that local government can employ.