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Bowser Administration Releases Annual Reports Showing Progress in Waste Diversion, New Targets for Measuring Future Inroads

Thursday, April 22, 2021
District quantifies the scale of the city’s solid waste stream, while establishing baselines for zero waste
Today the Bowser Administration, through the District of Columbia Department of Public Works (DPW), released annual progress reports on solid waste management showing an increase in the amount of residential waste being diverted from landfills. Data in the Calendar Year 2018 Solid Waste Diversion Progress Report and the Desktop Waste Characterization Study also establish new baselines for measuring future progress. District partners and stakeholders, local businesses, and decision makers can use the content in the reports to inform ongoing discussions on addressing the city's waste diversion and sustainability goals.

"Together, these reports provide a clearer understanding of both the scale of the citywide waste stream and its composition. The District can now identify in a more precise way where there are opportunities for waste diversion and thus allows us to more confidently plan,” said Interim DPW Director Christine V. Davis. “Altogether, with the establishment of these performance metrics, the District is on track to become a leader in advancing progress towards zero waste.”

The progress report and study fulfill the reporting requirements of the Sustainable Solid Waste Management Amendment Act of 2014.

Highlights of Annual Waste Diversion Progress Report:

  • The residential waste diversion rate equaled 25.24 percent for calendar year 2018, up from 22.96 percent for the fiscal year 2017.
  • The citywide waste diversion rate is estimated to be 16.11 percent for calendar year 2018, establishing a new baseline for measuring future progress.
  • The per capita waste generation rate for calendar year 2018 is estimated to be 8.89 pounds per resident per day, establishing a new baseline for measuring future progress.

Highlights of Desktop Waste Characterization Study:

  • The total estimated municipal solid waste (MSW) generation across all sectors in the city is more than 1.1 million tons. By 2038, the total size of the city’s solid waste stream is estimated to rise to nearly 1.4 million tons due to population growth.
  • Seventy percent of the city’s solid waste generation can be derived from the commercial (non-residential) sector, a result of economic activity fueled by daily commuters and tourists.

Mayor Bowser set a goal for the District to divert 80 percent of its waste by 2032. DPW’s Office of Waste Diversion (OWD) is charged with developing a zero waste plan to help achieve that goal. OWD also serves as a liaison between the District and neighboring jurisdictions in developing regional waste reduction and diversion campaigns.