Originally posted on CBS Los Angeles:
From coffee grounds to empty milk cartons, consumers are becoming increasingly aware of how and where to recycle. In many cities, gone are the days of simply leaving trash on the curb. Instead, the emphasis is on recycling — and more importantly, how to recycle and what can be recycled under a particular city’s program. However, not all recycling programs are created equal.
So, let’s get dirty with how five different cities across the U.S. deal with recycling. When determining how to rank cities, the national recycling rate was used as a baseline for comparison, with grades reflecting how much a city exceeded (or missed) the average. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the recycling rate nationwide was 34.1 percent in 2010, with 85.1 million tons of materials recycled. The recycling rate is on an upward trend, improving from 31.6 percent and 79.9 million tons of materials recycled in 2005.
Other studies were used as well, including the Smarter Cities project by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and The Green City Index, a research project conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit and sponsored by Siemens. Individual city recycling program websites were also examined. How did these five cities stack up? Check out the following list to find out.