Roundup of Successful Waste Reduction Campaigns by Cities

Roundup of Successful Waste Reduction Campaigns by Cities

As more people focus on sustainability, more cities have embarked on their own ambitious waste reduction campaigns. Many cities in the United States have attempted to boost recycling rates, use less landfill space and become greener places to live. As your Chicagoland waste and recycling experts, Lakeshore Recycling Systems has decided to take a look at some waste reduction campaigns that many cities, including Chicago, have enforced in recent years. Here’s a list of some of the most notable cities reducing waste.

San Francisco

It probably doesn’t surprise anyone that this West Coast city has pursued some aggressive waste reduction campaigns in recent years. Strict rules (including one that banned disposable plastic shopping bags over a decade ago) and regulations have been introduced to the city that have encouraged more recycling participation.

In fact, composting and recycling are now mandatory in many cases. Residents, businesses, and event organizers can all be fined for not properly sorting their waste. With all of these new rules in place, San Francisco has a waste diversion rate of around eighty percent.


It’s no shock that this city, thought of as a hipster enclave, has also made some big strides when it comes to waste reduction. Portland keeps an impressive seventy percent of its waste out of landfills. The city cooperates with more than three dozen independent haulers of trash and recycling, which actually makes this milestone even more impressive.

A waste reduction program like this takes a tremendous amount of coordination and cooperation. It also requires motivation from the citizens. Portland residents are ready to recycle and follow the latest composting rules.

New York

New York City used to have a landfill that could be seen from space. Now the city wants to get to “zero waste” in the next decade, which won’t be easy. The city is taking a number of steps to reduce the total waste its citizens, government, and businesses produce. One recent initiative was the elimination of printed phone directories and the complete integration to electronic records. This saves more than a ton of paper each year, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The smaller cities and towns in New York State aren’t being left out though. Tarrytown, located in Westchester County just north of New York City, has its own reusable bag initiative. In northwest New York, the city of Buffalo has the Buffalo ReUse organization, which focuses on green demolition and reducing construction waste. Other cities in the Empire State are also pursuing similar programs and making some significant differences in their waste diversion rates.


The Chicago waste diversion rate is low; however, it is not as low as some of the cities mentioned above. The city recently introduced a new education initiative aimed at letting residents know what can be thrown in their blue cans. With this new system, residents who put incorrect items in their bin would notice a new educational sticker stuck to it after waste pickup, letting them know what can and can’t be recycled. We hope this new program boosts recycling rates in Chicago.

Lakeshore Recycling Systems Plays a Leadership Role

Lakeshore Recycling Systems is firmly committed to not owning a landfill. We invest in technology and systems that enable us to appropriately sort materials as efficiently as possible. In addition to our commitment to the environment, we are equally committed to assisting businesses and residents in Chicago with all their waste management needs. If you are in need of a portable bathroom, roll-off dumpster, street sweeper, on-site storage container or mulch, we are the team to help. Call today for a free consultation and estimate.

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