Local Recycling Program

The Institute for Local Self Reliance proposed a recycling program for Atlantic City, NJ in 1980 that combined home waste separation and cogeneration.

| September/October 1980

More and more folks—all over the country—are taking their lives into their own hands and building solar homes, sowing community gardens, and launching small businesses. However, in some situations where alternative action is needed, individual efforts simply can't accomplish enough. For example, a local church or civic group can—in the course of a year—recycle some hundreds of tons of material that would otherwise become a trash problem ... but dealing with the millions of tons of waste that's produced annually by a large urban area demands large-scale planning.

A Practical Plan

Recently, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance had an opportunity to design a recycling program to handle the 600 tons of waste produced in Atlantic County, New Jersey each day! Our aim was to find ways to recycle as much of the refuse as possible ... since the county's landfills are not only filling up fast, but are health hazards as well!

Here, in summarized form, is the course of action the ILSR proposed:

[1] That county residents and businesses separate their own refuse, using one container to hold paper, glass, and metal ... another for any remaining waste.

[2] That the county build two waste-processing plants, the first to further separate the paper, glass, and metal for resale ... the second to convert the remaining material into energy.

[3] That all county landfills except two be closed (the remaining pair of dumps would be upgraded to eliminate possible health hazards).

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