Increasing the recycling rate in Clark County, Nevada

Emerald Laija, University of Nevada, Las Vegas


The purpose of this study was to identify and evaluate policies that could increase the amount of municipal solid waste recycled in Clark County, Nevada. Clark County has not met the Nevada State goal of a 25% recycling rate since it was established by the Nevada Legislature in 1991. Using the system dynamics problem solving approach, a model for Clark County was adapted from a model developed by Stave (2008) to test policy options. There was no feedback in the model due to the long lifespan of the landfill servicing Clark County and the relatively shorter time horizon of the model. Since there is limited manufacturing of products in Clark County, there is a low demand for recyclable material, which is a driving factor behind the low recycling rate. The scenarios that increased the recycling rate beyond 25% were: (1) increasing residential and multi-family recycling to 34%, which represents the recyclable portion of material in those waste streams and (2) increasing residential and multi-family recycling to 25% and increasing commercial diversion to 30% from small businesses and material collected by roll-off services.