Master of Science (MS)


Environmental Sciences

Document Type



Recycling consists of diverting or recovering materials from the solid waste stream that would otherwise end up returning to the environment as a potential source of pollution. These collected materials are then used as raw materials in the manufacture or assembly of a new product or package. Over the years the amount of municipal solid waste being generated per person has steadily increased. Waste disposal costs are also increasing, making recycling even more important. To address this issue cities are developing recycling policies or plans. The type of plan varies according to the area; as of this time there are no national recycling standards or legislation being imposed. The Environmental Protection Agency is currently encouraging state and local governments to adopt a recycling program to reduce the amount of municipal solid waste being sent to landfills and incinerators. This study attempts to determine the types of municipal recycling programs and the success of those programs (measured by the participation rate) that have been instituted by cities. State capitals were selected as the cities to be studied in terms of their recycling programs and participation rates. Data was collected from these cities in both survey form and through the United States Census Bureau and 1991-1992 Green Index. It was then analyzed to determine what factors, if any, are associated with participation in the recycling programs in these cities. Significant correlations were found between participation and median value of owned homes, percent renter occupied housing units, percent bachelor’s degree or higher, and main type of recycling program. The municipal solid waste fee policy variable was not found to be significant but was determined to still be relevant to the study due to previous research and a significance level below .10.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Margaret Reams