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Trash to Treasure Lancaster County, Pennsylvania

One man’s trash is Lancaster County’s energy or recycled material. The county’s Solid Waste Management Authority has a diversion rate of 98%–less than 2% of trash collected ends up in a landfill. To accomplish this, the municipality employs a two-pronged approach: first, it minimizes the volume and toxicity of waste by concentrating on recycling and household hazardous waste, and then by processing the remaining materials in four primary disposal assets, including two waste-to-energy facilities. More than half of the county’s solid waste is combusted for energy, and another 43% is recycled traditionally. The coordinated approach serves as a carbon negative model, meaning it offsets more carbon emissions than it produces, and provides long-term stability for community tipping fees.

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