Clinton School Impact Minute: Single-Stream Recycling

Judy Watts, a graduate of the Clinton School of Public Service, used her final Capstone project to conduct best-practice research for the City of Little Rock Public Works Department.

Watts’ research was focused on examining the effects of single-stream recycling programs, a system in which all recyclable materials – paper, plastics, and metal – are placed together in a single bin or container.

Watts focused much of her research on the City of El Paso, Texas, which reported having one of the lowest recycling rates in the country before making the switch to single-stream recycling. Within a year, El Paso saw dramatic increases in its recycling participation rate and total recycled materials.

Watts’ final deliverable included El Paso’s improvement metrics, a strategy for marketing and outreach, and recommendations for Little Rock’s potential plan for implementation.

In April 2012, the City of Little Rock officially kicked off its single-stream recycling program.

Within two years, the city had more than doubled its recycling participation rate, and saw a reduction in more than 5,000 tons of garbage collected annually.

The Clinton School Impact Minute is a recurring segment with Little Rock Public Radio, highlighting the Clinton School’s field service impact in Arkansas.

Since 2004, Clinton School students have completed more than 600 field service projects with nearly 300 organizations in Arkansas alone, creating immediate and long-term impact for businesses, nonprofits, and government agencies across the state.



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