The City of Highland Park has been committed to increasing waste diversion rates. Reducing your waste stream and reusing items that would normally go into the waste stream can lead directly to saving money while reducing your impact on the environment. Millions of tons of recyclables end up in the landfill each year unnecessarily, taking up space while wasting time and money.
The EPA Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response found that 42% of U.S. 2006 GHG emissions were associated with the manufacturing, use and disposal of materials and products. Reducing the amount of materials used to make products, extending product life spans, and maximizing recycling rates are examples of materials management strategies that can significantly reduce GHG emissions.
Highland Park has a strong track record of recycling. The City boasts the highest rate of residential recycling in the SWALCO service area, with 40% of waste being recycled, just over the national average of 34.5%. In Highland Park, 70% of businesses and multi-unit residences also recycle.
Reducing the volume of disposable materials in general, whether bound for recycling or landfill, is the best first step toward increasing our recycling rate. Bottled water provides a great example of how to reduce waste. “Americans buy an estimated 42.6 billion single-serving (1 liter or less) plastic water bottles each year. Almost eight out of ten end up in a landfill or incinerator,” and those figures don’t even include other bottled beverages, such as soda and juice. According to one study, one refillable bottle replaces 167 disposable bottles per year, and if tap water cost the same as bottled water, the average household water bill would top $9,000 per month! With a little advanced planning, using refillable containers for water, soda, coffee, and any other beverage can be as convenient as packaged products.
Explore the other links on this page to learn about recycling and waste management in Highland Park, and more strategies for reducing the volume of materials that come into your home or business.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency provides a good overview how you can reduce, reuse and recycle.