United States
                         Environmental Protection
                        Solid Waste and
                        Emergency Response
January 1994
WasteWi$e  Tip  Sheet
Recycling  Collection
                                      WksteWise Program Elements
                                       Waste Prevention
                                       Recycling Collection
                                       Buying or Manufacturing Recycled Products
What Is Recycling?
What Are the
Benefits of
How Does Recycling
Fit into the
WasteWise Program?
Recycling is a three-step process. Collecting used materials is the impor-
tant first step.  The second step involves using recovered materials as feed-
stock in the manufacture of new products. The final step is purchasing
and using the recycled products.

Recyclables are materials that still have useful physical or chemical proper-
ties after serving their original purpose and that can, therefore, be reused
or remanufactured into new products.  Collecting recyclables reduces a
company's waste disposal costs by diverting materials from waste. Recy-
cling can also provide revenues through the sale of collected materials. In
addition, collecting recyclables helps to ensure an adequate supply of raw
materials for manufacturing recycled products.
Recycling also  has important environmental benefits,  including the conser-
vation of energy, natural resources, and valuable landfill capacity. Com-
pany support of recycling also can improve customer and employee
relations by demonstrating a company's commitment  to environmental

Each company  in the WasteWise program commits to  establish, expand, or
improve programs to collect recyclables. If your company is not currently
collecting recyclables, the first step would be to set up a collection pro-
gram for one or more materials. Companies that already have a collection
program in place can choose to increase the amount of recyclables col-
lected, collect additional types of recyclables, or improve employee educa-
tion programs to improve the quality of collected materials.
WasteWise companies are asked to monitor their progress and report annu-
ally on the total amount of material collected for recycling.
                                                       Printed on paper that contains at least 50% recycled fiber.

What Mat6l"ials Can     Generally, materials that have recycling potential are those that can be col-
Be Recycled?             lected in quantity, free of contamination, and which can be economically
                             transported to a processor or end user.  A decision to collect materials also
                             will depend on such factors as the costs and revenues involved, employee
                             interest, local solid waste laws, and corporate environmental policy. The
                             following materials are most commonly recycled:

                             Most types of paper are recyclable.  Office paper is usually collected in
                             two grades: "high grade" and  "mixed." High grade paper typically con-
                             sists of white copier paper, white  computer paper, white office stationery,
                             and white note paper. Mixed office paper includes nearly  all waste paper
                             generated in an office, such as white and colored paper, file folders, and
                             manila envelopes. Because it is minimally sorted, mixed paper is consid-
                             ered to be low quality and generally yields very low market prices.  In
                             some markets, some recyclers even  charge a fee for collecting mixed pa-
                             per. Buyers of either type of recyclable paper usually prohibit certain con-
                             taminants, including glossy paper, tape, and  envelopes with plastic
                             windows.  The highest prices are paid for sorted paper with little contami-

                             Corrugated Containers (Cardboard)

                             The commercial sector in the United States  generates more corrugated
                             cardboard  than any other single waste material.  Cardboard is a very good
                             candidate for recycling because it is easily separated  from  other materials.
                             In addition, because of its bulk, collecting cardboard for recycling can sig-
                             nificantly reduce the volume of waste requiring disposal.  This can reduce
                             the number of trash pickups or the size of solid waste containers needed,
                             thereby lowering disposal costs. Cardboard is more desirable to buyers if
                             contaminants are removed and boxes are flattened and baled.

                             Many buyers require that collected glass be separated by color (clear,
                             green, and brown) before pickup, although some will accept mixed glass.
                             Typically,  broken glass and paper labels are acceptable.   Most buyers re-
                             quire,  however, that glass be clean  and free of such contaminants as bottle
                             caps, ceramics, and light bulbs.

                             Aluminum and tin/steel cans,  aluminum foil, and other scrap metals are
                             readily recyclable. Some metals, such as copper and aluminum, yield a
                             high market price. Collection requirements depend on the metal and the
                             local market situation.


                             While plastics recycling is a relatively young industry, it is expected to ex-
                             pand as processing technologies develop.  In order to recycle recovered
                             plastic, it must be separated by resin type. The plastic resins most com-
                             monly recycled are PET (polyethylene terephthalate), used in soda bottles,
                             and HOPE (high-density polyethylene), used in milk jugs.  In some areas,
                             there may be buyers for mixed or  commingled plastics.  Mixed plastic are

                                                 2                           RECYCLING COLLECTION

How  Do I Get
How  Do I Find a
Buyer for the
Collected Materials?
used to manufacture items such as recycled plastic park benches, garbage
containers, and highway barriers.  Manufacturers and other commercial en-
terprises with large volumes of plastic waste often can find markets for
these large quantities.

Other Recyclables

Other materials, such as wood waste and textiles, are also recyclable.  To
find a buyer, identify the composition of the waste material and the
amount generated. Then check with your community's Chamber of Com-
merce, local business networks, and your local or state government envi-
ronmental or public works agency to help you find a market.

Management should endorse the collection program and appoint an enthu-
siastic recycling coordinator to  oversee it. The recycling coordinator will
need to work with many groups, including facilities management, transpor-
tation, purchasing, suppliers, employees, and the public. The recycling co-
ordinator also should work with those designated to implement the waste
prevention and  recycled-products  purchasing efforts.
The next step is to get to know your waste stream.  This can  be done
through a waste assessment that identifies the types and amounts of waste
a facility generates. (See the tip sheet on Waste Assessments or EPA's
Business Guide for Reducing Solid Waste).  By conducting a waste assess-
ment, you will  gather baseline information that can be used to set goals
and monitor progress.
Finally, set your recycling goals.  Your goals will reflect  the amounts and
types of waste generated at your facility and the recycling options that are
feasible and cost-effective. Remember to first consider activities that actu-
ally prevent waste from being generated. Then examine the remaining
waste to determine which materials could be collected for recycling.

Before your recycling program begins, it is important to  locate markets for
the materials that will be collected.  If markets cannot be found, materials
should not be collected for recycling.
Companies that buy recyclables are generally referred to as "vendors."
Often, vendors  can be found in  your local telephone book.  Sometimes,
however, more  research is necessary. In some cases, a new market may
need to be developed for the material.
Your local or state government recycling offices,  the local Chamber of
Commerce, or a local or regional recycling organization may be able to
help you find or develop markets  for the materials you intend to collect.
National trade associations, such  as the National Soft Drink Association
and the Steel Recycling Institute, also can help identify  markets for your
collected materials. Local or regional "waste exchanges" are another re-
source you should explore. Waste exchanges provide a communications
link between those who have material that could be recycled  and those
who are looking for materials to use  in their production processes.
                                                                            RECYCLING  COLLECTION

How  Do I Set Up a
Good Collection
How Do I Educate
How Do I Monitor
and Evaluate the
Collection Program?
What Additional
Information  Is
Available from EPA?
Convenience is the key to a successful recycling program. A convenient
collection system will encourage employees to carefully sort recyclables
by material type and to eliminate contaminants. By collecting the highest
quality recyclables, you will get the most value for your collected materi-
als and the highest return on your investment in the recycling program.
Know where recyclable materials  are generated and by whom, and place
collection containers as close  to these sources as possible. For instance,
desk-top containers work well for an office paper collection program.  Con-
venience is especially important in a manufacturing setting, where em-
ployees might have little time to properly separate materials.  After the
material has been collected in small containers, transfer it to a larger cen-
tral collection point.  Fire codes must be considered when choosing a stor-
age area.
When designing a collection program, be creative.  Each program should
be designed to meet the specific characteristics of the company and the
types of recyclables collected.

As with any waste reduction effort, employee education and involvement
is critical to the success of the recycling collection program.  Involve indi-
viduals from many parts of the company in planning and implementing
the collection program.  This  will give them  a sense of ownership and par-
ticipation, making it more likely that they will become advocates of recy-
cling in your company. Target key employees who will be integrally
involved, such as the custodial staff.  Encourage employees to offer feed-
back and suggestions. Educate employees about the benefits of recycling,
both for the company and for  the  environment. Teach employees how to
participate by conveying information in a simple and concise way.
Suggested educational tools include a memo  from upper management sup-
porting the program,  a kickoff fair to educate employees, and a 20-minute
training session for all employees.  Also, be sure to provide ongoing publicity
about program successes.

Maintain accurate, up-to-date  statistics, such as the types and amounts of
materials collected, prices paid by vendors, and contaminant levels. Use
this information,  as well  as feedback from employees, to  evaluate the pro-
gram and make changes as needed.

Order the following EPA document from the  EPA RCRA/Superfund Hot-
line at 800 424-9346  or TDD  800  553-7672 for the hearing impaired. For
Washington, DC,  and outside  the  United States, call 703  412-9810 or
TDD 703 412-3323.

Business Guide for Reducing Solid Waste (EPA530-K-92-004), 1993.  Free.
This is a comprehensive how-to guide on assessing your facility's solid waste and
choosing cost-effective waste reduction actions.
Order the following document from the National Technical Information
Service (NTIS) at  703 487-4650.

Office Paper Recycling: An Implementation Manual (PB90-199-431), 1990.
$22.50. This detailed manual explains how to set up an  office paper collection
program and provides examples of successful programs.
                                                                           RECYCLING COLLECTION

Sources of Additional Information
The following list of resources is not intended to be comprehensive and does  not constitute EPA endorsement of
products. The documents referenced are those WasteWise found to be most useful.
For further information, WasteWise members are encouraged to contact their state and local governments, many of
which have manuals on setting up collection programs and information about markets for collected recyclable
materials.  Please let us know of other resources you have found to be helpful.
National Office Paper Recycling Project,
information/enrollment package.  Free.
     U.S. Conference of Mayors
     National Office Paper Recycling Program
     1620 Eye Street, NW.
     Washington, DC 20006
     202  233-3089
Business Recycling Manual, 1991.  $90.00.  This
comprehensive manual provides a systematic approach
to establishing a recycling program in businesses.  Topics
range from negotiating with haulers to sustaining your
program over the long run.
     INFORM, Inc. and Recourse Systems, Inc.
     381  Park Avenue  South
     New York, NY 10016
     212 689-4040
Guide to Commercial and Institutional Recycling,
1992. $10.00. This comprehensive guide explains how to
establish a waste reduction and recycling program,
including conducting a  waste assessment, employing an
eight-step approach to office recycling, and buying recycled
     Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority
     25 South Charles Street, Suite 2105
     Baltimore, MD 21201-3330
     410 333-2730
RecycleLine RecycleLine is an online recycling network
and resource center. It offers continually updated
information on  recycled products, markets, equipment,
and services.
     P.O. Box 32428
     Louisville,  KY 40232
     800 824-2144
WasteCap Interactive Computer Model (WICM).
$10.00 outside New Hampshire. This menu driven
program for personal computers can help identify and
evaluate recycling opportunities in your organization.
     Emily Hess, Director
     Business and  Industry Association of New
     122 North Main Street
     Concord, NH 03301
     603  224-5388
     603  224-2872 (FAX)
                WasteWise is a partnership between EPA and America's leading businesses.
                Participants set their own waste prevention, recycling, and recycled-product
                purchasing goals.  WasteWise supports company efforts through technical
                assistance and recognition of participants' successes.

                For more information about  any aspect of WasteWise, call
                800  EPAWISE (800 372-9473).
                                                                               RECYCLING COLLECTION