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Collection Savings By improving collection efficiency, cities across the United States are increasing the cost effectiveness of their municipal solid waste (MSW) management programs. Collection of residential solid waste and recyclables can comprise up to 62 percent of the total cost of MSW management. There are four major strategies that can help reduce collection costs, according to case studies prepared by the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA). These strategies include increased automation, routing management, changing the frequency of collection, and dual collection of MSW and recyclables. For example, Rochester, New York, implemented semiautomation for its collection and achieved an average annual savings of $900, 000. The city also reduced worker injuries, decreasing worker's compensation claims by 52 percent. Charlotte, North Carolina, started using an automated routing system generated by a specialized computer software package and achieved an estimated savings of $26,000 a year in labor costs.
Cooling the Greenhouse Is it possible to alleviate the greenhouse effect by preventing waste? The New York State Office of Recycling Market Development (ORMD) is helping show that it is. Through a grant from EPA, ORMD is establishing two wood reclamation facilities to make value-added products, such as furniture, out of reclaimed wood. This project has the potential to divert 9,600 tons of wood per year from disposal, as well as reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane. Reclaiming wood, rather than throwing it away, mitigates the greenhouse effect by decreasing the use of virgin timber (leaving trees standing to absorb carbon dioxide) and keeping discarded wood from being landfilled or burned in incinerators (where it gives off greenhouse gases).
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