Waste management involves processes to reduce, recover, divert, and dispose of materials that are no longer needed for their intended purposes. Disposal results in lost resources when materials that retain economic value and use are discarded, increasing energy use and the need for raw materials. Increasing costs of energy and raw materials and strong market values for recyclable materials will continue to support the transition to resource recovery and reuse.
Resource recovery activities include waste prevention, recycling, reuse, composting of organic waste, and extended producer responsibility (EPR), which holds manufacturers accountable for all stages of a product's lifecycle including the end of life (recovery and/or safe disposal). Resource recovery generates economic value while reducing the amount and cost of disposal.
For continued success, Milwaukee must broaden its emphasis of resource recovery beyond residential recycling to better address commercial and industrial waste. With one of the country's most robust manufacturing sectors, Milwaukee has a unique opportunity to monetize industrial by-products, which can result in economic growth.