Missouri  Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Composition Study

In late 2006 and early 2007, a solid waste composition study was conducted by the Midwest Assistance Program, which was contracted by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Fifteen locations throughout Missouri (including the City of St. Louis Refuse Division's South Transfer Station) were sampled and analyzed to determine what is in our waste stream and how much.

The City of St. Louis Refuse Division manages waste from only City residents and City Government; we do not collect or accept waste from businesses, non-profit organizations, or institutions (e.g., schools, religious facilities, hospitals).  In 2009, the Refuse Division landfilled 204,731 tons of solid waste.  Some of that waste was collected from City Government buildings and operations; public spaces (e.g., parks, sidewalks); bulky waste (e.g., furniture, cabinetry); and citizen drop-offs of solid waste.  However, 70%, or 142,646 tons, were residential waste collected from alley dumpsters and curbside rollcarts.  To dispose of our residential waste, the City of St. Louis spent $4,871,895 in landfill tipping fees.

City of St. Louis South Transfer Station Results

The data collected from our Transfer Station shows that more than 38% (by weight) and 40% (by volume) of our residential waste is recyclable.  When this study was conducted, materials were separated into categories based on the markets available at that time.  Some recyclables that we accept today were not accepted for recycling in 2006-2007 (e.g., plastic #'s 3, 4, 5, 7; aseptic packaging; aluminum foil, pie plates, trays; gable-top containers), and therefore fell into non-recyclable categories during the waste composition study.  Because of this, there are additional recyclables in our waste stream that were not considered recyclable in the waste composition study.  Based on that information, we estimate that the percentages of how much of our waste is recyclable are actually higher that noted in the study.  Including data for these other items would likely increase our recyclable waste above 45% (by weight) and 53% (by volume).

Note:  Yard waste waste not included in this study.

MATERIAL  2006-2007 AVERAGE
RECYCLABLE IN CITY OF ST. LOUIS RESIDENTIAL RECYCLING CONTAINERS?
% BY WEIGHT
% BY VOLUME
Cardboard 7.65% 12.75% Yes
Newsprint 6.55% 4.60% Yes
Magazines 4.55% 2.25% Yes
High Grade Paper
6.50% 6.30% Yes
Mixed Paper
11.25% 12.65% No
PAPER TOTALS
36.55% 38.55%
Clear Glass
2.00% 0.95% Yes
Brown Glass
1.85% 1.00% Yes
Green Glass
1.10% 0.75% Yes
Other Glass
0.25% 0.30% No
GLASS TOTALS
5.20% 2.95%
Aluminum Cans
1.30% 2.35% Yes
Other Aluminum
0.25% 0.40% Yes/No - Foil, pie plates, & trays are accepted.  Scrap aluminum is not accepted.
Non Ferrous Metals
0.10% 0.10% No
Food Cans
2.45% 2.25% Yes
Ferrous Metals
0.85% 0.75% No
METAL TOTALS
4.95% 5.75%
Plastic #1 (PET)
2.20% 4.05% Yes
Plastic #2 (HDPE)
1.50% 3.20% Yes
Plastic Film
5.05% 10.95% No
Other Plastic
6.75% 12.35% Yes/No - Plastic containers # 3, 4, 5, & 7 are accepted.  Plastic #6, non-number plastics, and non-container plastics (e.g., toys) are not accepted.
PLASTIC TOTALS
15.5% 30.60%
Food Waste
16.75% 7.55% No - Consider composting at home.
Wood Waste
1.55% 1.15% No
Textiles 4.30% 3.55% No - Consider other textile reuse/recycling options.
Diapers 5.50% 3.10% No
Other Organics
3.40% 2.90% No
ORGANIC TOTALS
31.50% 18.25%
Fines 1.00% 0.90% No
Other Inorganics
4.40% 2.35% No
INORGANIC TOTALS
5.45% 3.30%
Household Hazardous Waste
0.50% 0.40% No
Electronic Waste
0.40% 0.20% No - Consider other reusing/recycling options.
SPECIAL WASTE TOTALS
0.95% 0.55%

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