Waste Diversion Rate

Desired Trend


Current Trend

Baseline (2010): 53.7%
Current (2016): 56.2%

Theme Efficient


Percent of waste diverted through source reduction, recycling, reuse, or composting

Why is it Important?

The waste diversion rate measures the amount of materials that are not landfilled. Diversion is a sustainable practice that ensures materials are used efficiently while reducing the amount of space and money that society must devote to landfills. The diversion rate includes all methods of diversion, including reducing, recycling, reusing, or composting. The data for this indicator is based on state-wide Missouri data due to limited data availability for smaller geographies and lack of current data for the state of Illinois.

How are we Doing?

The waste diversion rate in the state of Missouri increased from 53.7 percent in the baseline year 2010 to 56.2 percent in 2016. Since 2002 the statewide diversion rate increased by 15 percentage points. In the state of Illinois, where the diversion rate is based solely on recycling and composting, the diversion rate is estimated to have increased from 19.1 percent in 2008 to 37.3 percent in 2014.1

Although the waste diversion rate in Missouri is increasing, the amount of waste generated per capita is also increasing. In the state of Missouri, the average person generated an average of 8.1 pounds of waste per day in 2016, up from 6.0 pounds in 2000.2 The state’s municipal waste generation rate is much higher than the national rate of municipal waste generation, which was 4.7 pounds per capita per day in 2000 and 4.4 pounds per capita per day in 2014.3

In April of 2017, over 100 individuals from 88 different organizations participated in the OneSTL Regional Sustainability Summit. Through this event, groups were formed to explore goals and strategies around seven key topics related to sustainability in St. Louis. The groups drafted proposed targets focused on the seven topics. One of the groups developed the following target on the topic of materials and recycling:

“Reduce tonnage of material going to landfills in the regional waste shed by 30 percent by 2030 over a 2016 baseline.”

Within the eight-county region, there are seven landfills where waste is currently accepted. There are four landfills located on the Illinois side of the region, including the Cottonwood Hills facility in Marissa, the Roxanna Landfill, and the Miliam and North Miliam facilities located in East St. Louis. On the Missouri side of the region, there are three landfills that accept waste, including the Rock Hill demolition landfill, the Champ Landfill in Maryland Heights, and the City Landfill in Washington. Together these seven landfills accepted over 3.3 million tons of waste in 2016, with most of the waste coming from the Champ Landfill and the Roxanna Landfill. If the region is able to achieve the proposed target, around 2.3 million tons of waste will be sent to the region’s landfills in 2030.

Since convening in April of 2017, the materials and recycling group has taken on several efforts to achieve this target. The group is working to create a database of locations throughout the region where “hard to recycle” items are accepted. The group is also starting a regional recycling education program focused on increasing recycling and reducing contamination in single stream recycling systems. Through this program, the group hopes to send standard messaging to every resident and business in the waste shed on what belongs and does not belong in a single stream recycling system.  

Geographic Level

State of Missouri (data will be updated if it becomes available for additional areas or if more detailed data becomes available for areas in the eight county region)


1 Illinois Commodity/Waste Generation and Characterization Study Update, 30 March 2015, accessed on 18 March 2016 at http://www.illinoisrecycles.org/documents/

2The municipal waste generation rate includes waste from households, offices, and small businesses, and does not include waste from demolition, industry, or other sources.

3Advancing Sustainable Materials Management: Facts and Figures 2013, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, June 2015, accessed on 18 March 2016 at https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-09/documents/2013_advncng_smm_rpt.pdf

Data Sources

Missouri Department of Natural Resources