New Report on the Performance of Seattle’s Zero Waste System Now Available to SWANA Members as a Free Membership Benefit

New Report on the Performance of Seattle’s Zero Waste System Now Available to SWANA Members as a Free Membership Benefit

The SWANA Applied Research Foundation (ARF) report examines the impact of recycling on municipal solid waste disposal in Seattle, WA.

June 25, 2024 – The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) Applied Research Foundation (ARF) has released a data-rich report, Zero Waste Programs: An Analysis of Seattle’s Performance Data. The report provides an in-depth analysis of the impacts of Seattle’s zero waste program initiatives on the total and per-capita recycling
and disposal rates for the city’s four primary waste generation groups: single-family households, multi-family households, businesses, and waste self-haulers.

In FY2021, Seattle diverted 53 percent of its municipal solid waste (MSW) from disposal through recycling initiatives, with single-family residents and commercial establishments recycling over 60 percent of their waste. Multi-family residents and self-haul
customers had lower rates, at 35 percent and 10 percent respectively.

By 2040, the city aims to increase its overall recycling rate to 69 percent, with single-family and commercial recycling rates projected to rise by 14–15 percentage points. This would mean single-family residents diverting 83 percent of their waste
and commercial establishments diverting 78 percent. These rates would mark significant progress and set unprecedented benchmarks for waste management.

“SWANA is optimistic that the data and analyses presented in this report will serve as invaluable resources for zero waste planners in developing highly effective zero waste systems. Drawing inspiration from the models established in cities such
as Seattle, San Francisco, and San Jose, we hope the report will inform and empower other communities. SWANA would like to thank the City of Seattle, who was instrumental in the publication of this report. Thank you for your invaluable contributions,”
said SWANA Executive Director & CEO Amy Lestition Burke, MA, FASAE, CAE.

“This report delves into the effectiveness of zero waste programs in handling waste generation, recycling, and disposal data. It’s important to note that while this focus is crucial, it’s essential to acknowledge the broader array of benefits
that zero waste systems provide, especially the substantial environmental, societal, and economic impacts. We must recognize and appreciate the holistic value of these systems beyond the scope of this report,” highlights Jeremy O’Brien,
SWANA Director of Applied Research.

The full report is now available to SWANA members free of charge and to non-members for a fee.

Click here to access the Executive Summary.

To download the report, click here.

To learn more about SWANA and the Applied Research Foundation, visit