The Wilbur D. May Museum at Rancho San Rafael has a wide range of historic artifacts
The Wilbur D. May Museum at Rancho San Rafael has a wide range of historic artifacts

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Waste Reduction and Recycling Program

The Waste Reduction and Recycling Program develops and implements reuse, recycling and environmentally friendly purchasing programs throughout the Health District. Staff also conducts public education campaigns geared towards waste reduction and recycling. In addition, they will assist local businesses in waste audits and program development for recycling in the work place. Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions about waste reduction and recycling.

City of Reno Single-Stream Recycling Program

Learn more about Reno's recycling program.

Publication Available -


Prepared for
The Washoe County Health District
Environmental Health Services

Presented by
Lee Bryant, REHS, MPH
Emily Brown, MPH

January 27, 2012

I. Introduction

Curbside recycling is offered to all Washoe County residents who have residential service though the local franchised garbage and recycling hauler, Waste Management of Nevada, Inc. (hereafter called Waste Management)1. While garbage service is a mandatory service, curbside recycling is optional and only 40% of residential customers participate1. There is also low utilization of local drop-off recycling centers, which are usually the only recycling outlets for residents living in multi-family dwellings, condominiums or other non-single family dwellings. Though Washoe County Health District (WCHD) does not directly provide recycling services, they do regulate the local recycling industry including Waste Management. WCHD is also trying to fulfill a Washoe County target recycling target rate of 35% by 2015; the 2010 Washoe County recycling rate was only 27%, down from 30% the previous year1. Increasing curbside recycling participation and utilization of local drop-off facilities have been identified by WCHD staff as a means to help meet the 35% target recycling rate.

As with any human behavior, recycling behavior is determined by a complex set of factors including home ownership, geographical location, perception of benefit and level of knowledge1,2. In order for the WCHD to increase county-wide recycling, future educational materials and outreach programs need to be tailored to the community’s specific needs and beliefs regarding recycling. Facilitated focus groups are group interviews and are very effective qualitative data collection tools for understanding the motivations, beliefs and barriers of a specific group of people or populations2. To develop a better understanding of the recycling behaviors (or lack thereof), a series of 14 focus groups were completed between October 15 and December 15, 2011 with the residents of Washoe County by Ms. Lee Bryant , WCHD, and Ms. Emily Brown. This report outlines the findings of this effort and states specific recommendations based on the responses of the participants. ...

To receive a copy of the full report, please contact the Solid Waste Management Program.

1Salgado, L. (2011). Washoe County Solid Waste Management Plan.
2Wholey, J., Harty, H. & Newcomer, K. (2010). Handbook of Practical Program Evaluation, 3rd edition.