2014 Community Recycling Award Winners

Community Award Winner – Partnerships

Metro Waste Authority

   Location – Des Moines, Iowa 
   Amount of paper and paper-based packaging recovered in
   2013 – 12,370 tons
   Population: 83,222 households
   Amount collected per household – 280 pounds


Each of the 21 cities in Polk County has a staff person who works closely with Metro Waste Authority (MWA) to offer the recycling program in their community. Many of them help promote recycling education through their own newsletters, websites and social media. MWA’s waste hauler also provides them with financial support for education. This financial commitment supplements MWA’s outreach budget to expand reach. MWA worked with The Carton Council to educate the public and added gable top and aseptic containers as part of the collection process. Finally, MWA partners with schools, libraries and civic groups. In 2013, their education specialist presented recycling information to 10,973 students – who often helped to change recycling behavior in their homes.


MWA is the primary source of recycling education in the Des Moines Metro Area. In 1994, MWA rolled out the first curbside recycling program, Curb It!, in 20 communities within Polk County, plus some rural areas. MWA also manages seven recycling drop-off sites in their service area to provide a recycling outlet for those who don’t have curbside recycling, or have more material than fits in their carts. In early 2012, MWA developed a communications campaign designed to expand the public’s view of what mixed paper is recyclable. Their efforts led to an increase of 10 percent of mixed paper getting collected through the program.


At least twice year, MWA conducts an in-depth audit. Using what they learn, MWA tailors communication efforts to better educate the public and divert more paper from the landfill. The components of this extensive campaign included a TV commercial, YouTube videos, radio ads, blogs on their website, a recycling guide on their website, and assorted social media.

More information

To learn more about Metro Waste Authority, visit www.WhereShouldItGo.com

Community Award Winner – Creativity, Volume

Township of Nutley

   Location – Nutley, NJ 
   Amount of paper and paper-based packaging 
   recovered in 2013 – 5,715.31 tons
   Population: 70,000 households
   Amount collected per resident – 160 pounds


The Township of Nutley’s recycling program is promoted through an extensive pamphlet that outlines the recycling collection guidelines and schedule, which is delivered to every resident and business within the township. For the community outreach events, Nutley creates flyers and a special events calendar, hangs banners across their main business district, and sends press releases to local newspapers. Since instituting community outreach programs and events, Nutley significantly increased its recycling efforts – apart from regular curbside collection, they grew their program from two annual recycling days for designated materials in 2011 to eight recovery for recycling days in 2013. In addition, they partner with the Nutley Public Library to recycle books.


The Township of Nutley’s recycling program began in 1981 with the collection of newspapers, aluminum and glass. In 1985, the Department of Public Works instituted weekly curbside collection, a practice that is still used today. Over the years the township continued to expand its recycling program to include all mixed paper, corrugated cardboard, and shredded paper. Nutley is a leader in its recycling initiatives, often exceeding all Essex County and State of New Jersey Recycling Requirements.


The Township of Nutley’s recycling program consists of curbside collection and a variety of community outreach events. The entire Nutley School District is part of program, and there are concerted efforts to promote and increase the visibility of the recycling program in elementary schools. Nutley measures the success of its program using recycling tonnage data collected and comparing the figures from year to year.

More information

For more information about the Township of Nutley, please visit www.nutleynj.org.

Community Award Winner - Participation

Vance Air Force Base

Location: Enid, Okla.
Amount of paper and paper-based packaging recovered in 2013: 183.47 tons
Population: 49,854
Amount collected per resident: 160 pounds


Vance Air Force Base has a robust marketing campaign to educate the base population about paper recycling. Residents are educated via newsletters and two base marquee signs to inform people as they enter and exit the base. Bulletin boards within each facility ensure the message is delivered in the work place. Vance’s student population has a high turnover rate, so they conduct regular recycling education. All base personnel, including military, civil servants and contractors, complete Environmental Management System Recycling Training within 90 days of arrival at the base. The training ensures that all personnel that enter the base are familiar with Vance's recycling policy. Partnership with the Northern Oklahoma Resource Center in Enid also helped to increase recycling volume.


Vance’s mission is to “Train World-Class Pilots.” In addition, the base promotes world-class recycling efforts. They are remotely located in northwest Oklahoma – at least two hours away from major cities – making access for recycling vendors difficult. The Vance Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP) provides information to base personnel regarding proper management of nonhazardous solid waste generated at the base areas. Vance also incorporates Department of Defense and United States Air Force policies and goals to provide guidance on solid waste collection and disposal, waste reduction, recycling, and composting.


Vance began a paper recycling program in 1986 to meet new Department of Defense guidance, implementing a cost-effective recycling program to divert recyclable materials from the nonhazardous waste stream. The program evolved from only recycling white office paper and corrugated cardboard to recycling all paper items. Vance continues to raise awareness on recycling and to improve its recycling process. They measure the success of their program by their diversion rate from landfills, which reached 84.5 percent in 2013.

More information

To learn more about Vance Air Force Base, visit http://www.vance.af.mil.