What is the Local Solid Waste Management Plan (LSWMP)?
The LSWMP, also known as the Zero Waste Plan, was adopted by the Dallas City Council in February 2013. The purpose of the plan is to identify policies, programs and infrastructure that will be needed to manage solid waste and recyclable materials generated in the City over the next 50 years.
What is the purpose of the LSWMP Update?
The purpose of the LSWMP Update is to identify current and future solid waste management needs, evaluate programs, policies, and infrastructure options for meeting these needs, and to define a course of action for future waste generated in the City. Many changes have occurred since the LSWMP was initially adopted, and it is the City’s intention to update programs, policies and infrastructure based on what has been accomplished over the last decade.
The LSWMP Update will include the development of an implementation plan that aligns with the goals established by the Comprehensive Environmental and Climate Action Plan (CECAP) and maintains progress toward its long-term Zero Waste goal, with as much stakeholder and community feedback as possible. Solid Waste is one of eight sectors included in the CECAP which outlines activities that the City will undertake to improve quality of life, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, prepare for the impacts of climate change and create a healthier and more prosperous community. More information about CECAP is available at
The City and its consultant, Burns & McDonnell Engineering Company, Inc. (Burns & McDonnell), are developing the LSWMP Update with a focus on the next five years of implementation, understanding that the LSWMP Update will be continually updated going forward as the City works toward its long-term Zero Waste goal.
What does Zero Waste mean?
Zero Waste is a philosophy and design framework that promotes not only reuse, recycling and conservation programs, but also, and more importantly, emphasizes sustainability by considering the entire life-cycle of products, processes and systems. “Zero Waste” does not mean 100% recycling and the City may always have some residual materials that need to be landfilled. However, the City will strive for Zero Waste and take an active role in supporting local, statewide and national policy initiatives to create a more sustainable materials management system.
What are the City’s current goals for solid waste and recycling?
The following waste reduction rates were established for the LSWMP in 2013:
40 percent diversion by 2020
60 percent diversion by 2030
Zero Waste by 2040
The City has made significant progress since the LSWMP was adopted in 2013. However, the City’s current diversion rate is approximately 20%. The LSWMP Update is an opportunity for the City to identify alternative strategies and options to continue to increase diversion and work towards its Zero Waste vision.
Why does the LSWMP need to be updated?
Many changes have occurred since the plan was adopted in February 2013, including continued population growth within the City of Dallas. The LSWMP is meant to be a living document that is reviewed and updated on a regular basis to support the City’s solid waste and recycling goals. The update will reassess the City’s needs and provide short-term and long-term strategies to meet the City’s goals.
The updated plan will also build on and support Dallas’ Comprehensive Environmental & Climate Action Plan (CECAP). Solid Waste is one of eight sectors included in the CECAP which outlines activities that the City will undertake to improve quality of life, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, prepare for the impacts of climate change and create a healthier and more prosperous community. More information about CECAP is available at DallasClimateAction.com.
Are the City's goals and objectives changing as part of the LSWMP Update?
The goals and objectives are being updated to align with those adopted as part of CECAP and based on the extensive system analysis and stakeholder engagement conducted as part of the LSWMP Update. The following quantitative goals related to solid waste were adopted by CECAP, and are consistent with the updated goals and objectives as part of the LSWMP Update:
- Achieve 35% and 80% diversion of organic waste by 2030 and 2050, respectively, from the single-family sector
- Achieve 60% and 90% of paper waste by 2030 and 2050, respectively, from the single-family sector.
- 35% and 45% reduction in waste landfilled in 2030 and 2040 from 2021 tons disposed, respectively, from the single-family sector.
The 2011 LSWMP established long-term Zero Waste goals to establish a vision and empower the City to take effective action to increase its recycling rate. The options, recommendations, and implementation and funding plan as part of the LSWMP Update are focused on meeting the near term 2030 goals established by CECAP; however, the long-term goal for the City is still to strive to achieve Zero Waste by 2060 as originally established as part of the 2011 LSWMP.
Based on these objectives, the City has developed the following objectives for the LSWMP Update to guide policies, programs and infrastructure to achieve the 2030 goals and the long-term Zero Waste goal.
- Empower residents and businesses to reduce the amount of discarded material generated through proactive education and outreach.
- Establish and implement innovative operational best practices to provide efficient, cost effective, and environmentally responsible service.
- Provide excellent customer service and support residents and businesses to maximize diversion from landfill.
- Operate a clean, green and efficient waste system that seeks to generate energy from organics.
Who is included in single-family, multi-family and commercial generator sectors?
Single-family sector. The single-family sector includes material generated by single-family households. Material generated by the single-family sector is under direct control of the City as part of its garbage, recycling and brush & bulky item collection services provided to residents.
Multi-family sector. The multi-family sector consists of apartment complexes with three or more units. Apartment complexes with eight or more units are covered under the Multi-family Recycling Ordinance. The City does not have direct control over this material but does require that recycling service is provided to multi-tenant complexes. Permitted multi-tenant recycling haulers are required to provide reporting to the City of recycling activity on an annual basis.
Commercial sector. The commercial sector consists of a wide variety of properties, facilities and business operations including material offices, retail, wholesale establishments, restaurants and institutional entities such as schools, libraries, and hospitals. The City does not have control of this material, but non-exclusive franchise haulers are required to provide reporting of refuse collected from entities in the City.
What material does the City manage and why is it important?
The amount of direct control of a material stream determines the City's ability to increase recycling and set realistic and achievable goals.
The City has direct control over material generated by the single-family sector, because it collects, hauls, processes and/or disposes of this material on a daily basis. The City only has influence over material generated by the multi-family and commercial sectors based supported by regular reporting requirements from private-sector haulers active in the City. The figure above describes the level of control that the City has over the various material types and indicates the volume of material generated by that sector (circles are not to scale, and are presented for informational purposes only).
The smallest green circle represents the tonnage with direct control, the middle light blue circle represents tonnages that are covered under existing ordinances or policy (e.g., Multi-family Recycling Ordinance), and the largest circle represents the tonnages that the City could only influence. As indicated, the commercial sector generates the highest tonnage of material among the three generator sectors and represents the greatest opportunity to move the needle toward Zero Waste.
As part of the LSWMP Update development process, the goals have been determined where the near-term goals are achievable based on increasing recycling of materials the City has direct control over, and the long-term Zero Waste goals are achievable if the City would adopt key policies and/or ordinances to increase reporting requirements and influence over the material management from the multi-family and commercial sectors.
Is the City considering battery-powered electric vehicles?
As part of the LSWMP Update the City is considering how to incorporate more alternative fuel vehicles as part of operations including both natural gas and battery-powered electric vehicles. While there are challenges increasing the number of collection vehicles and other heavy equipment due to limited fueling infrastructure, minimizing the greenhouse gas emissions from the City's material management operations is a key considerations in the LSWMP Update.
How will the LSWMP Update be used to inform other strategic plans being developed by the City?
There are several ongoing strategic planning efforts being developed or updated by the City. The LSWMP Update is intended to inform the material management components of other under development and serve as a multi-departmental resource.
What happens after the updated plan is adopted?
The City of Dallas will use the updated plan to track performance and monitor progress towards its solid waste and recycling goals. The updated plan will serve as a roadmap for the City to make data-driven operational and policy decisions to achieve these targets.
How will feedback from residents and other stakeholders be used to update the plan?
Feedback gathered during the LSWMP Update will be used to inform decisions about the City’s solid waste and recycling programs as well as future opportunities to reduce waste destined for the landfill. Information provided by residents and other stakeholders will be reviewed and incorporated into the strategies and implementation plan developed as part of the LSWMP Update. Information and updates about community outreach activities and opportunities to provide input will be available online at DallasZeroWaste.com.
Will this impact how much I pay for services each month?
As part of the LSWMP Update, the City is gathering feedback from residents and businesses to understand their willingness to pay for services that could improve operations and diversion rates (e.g., reducing the amount of waste that is sent to the landfill).