Technical Assistance

Date: 1 Jan 2012 | posted in: Waste to Wealth | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

ILSR’s Waste to Wealth program helps communities across the country create policies and practices that simultaneously address citizens’ environmental concerns and economic needs. Our early work illustrated the environmental and economic benefits of recycling. In cities like Chicago, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia, we helped citizens fight the incinerators and landfills that polluted their air and water, attracted rodents, and drove down property prices in the predominantly low-income and minority areas where waste facilities traditionally are sited. We conduct research and provide officials with data that demonstrates how recycling reduces the need for waste disposal facilities and reduces waste management costs. As processing and remanufacturing techniques have advanced, ILSR has articulated – and, through pilot projects, demonstrated – the economic benefits of a “closed-loop” system. We then put theory to practice, helping communities attract “end-users,” pioneering innovative business structures such as joint ventures between entrepreneurs and community development organizations (CDOs), so that commercial growth benefits not just the home office, but the hometown.

The Waste to Wealth program continues to expand, working with old colleagues and new friends to address timely issues relating to environmental sustainability and local economic growth. Some of our services include:

Evaluating State-of-the-Art Policies: Researching, evaluating, and recommending policies that increase the supply and demand of recycled materials and that help close the loop locally, e.g., mandatory recycling ordinances, pay-as-you-throw trash fees, procurement guidelines, extended producer responsibility initiatives, minimum recycled-content product legislation, and joint-venture strategies.

Designing Model Zero Waste Programs: Assessing a community’s needs, evaluating its existing program, and recommending specific measures and resources to help reduce waste generation and disposal, increase recycling, reduce waste management costs, and create a supply of materials for remanufacture.

For example: Del Norte Zero Waste Plan, California (1st in US): Hawaii County, Hawaii; Atlanta; and Austin, Texas. Click here for more information on ILSR’s zero waste planning assistance.

Advocacy and Outreach: Working with local organizations, agencies, and businesses to identify and implement projects and policies that help turn discards into dollars. ILSR also offers expert testimony at public hearings, and provides workshops on issues from energy efficiency to environmental justice to enterprise development.

Drafting Case Studies: Documenting innovative, cost-effective public and private sector waste reduction programs that boast high recycling rates.

For example: Building Savings: Strategies for Waste Reduction of Construction & Demolition Debris from Buildings

Conducting Technology Assessments: Identifying and evaluating environmentally sound businesses and technologies such as processors, deconstruction service companies, remanufacturers, reuse/resale operations, and composting companies.

  1. For example: Atlanta anaerobic digestion report

For more information, contact: Neil Seldman, phone 202-898-1610 x210,

Additionally, Waste to Wealth staff are available to assist citizens fighting garbage incineration (and other waste to energy) projects. If you’re interested in any of our services, please contact Neil Seldman to set up a conference call to discuss the situation with your local organization and activists.

The following would be helpful background information for this conference call:

  • Type and size of plant proposed in your community
  • Current status of proposal
  • Is this the first time that an incinerator (or waste to energy plant) has been proposed?
  • How much capacity does the local landfill(s) have?
  • Who owns them?
  • What agency collects garbage from households (city crews, franchise hauler, open hauling)?
  • What recycling activities are currently in operation?


ILSR provides classroom and on-site deconstruction training services.

Business Development
Business plans, feasibility studies, start-up technical assistance; community joint ventures.

Site Assessments
Evaluation of the flow of discarded materials and the potential to sustain local businesses that can utilize these materials.

Business Recruitment and Job Creation
Recruiting green businesses; initiation of negotiations among entrepreneurs, selected companies, financial sources, and local government; development of joint-ventures; marketing and investment strategies.

Brownfield Redevelopment
Plans to redevelop contaminated sites such as brownfields and military bases with green industries.

Policy Shaping
Recommendations for implementing revised or new policies to convert waste to wealth.

Spreading the Word
Production and dissemination of fact sheets and other publications; coordination or participation in workshops and conferences; development of media campaigns; training and more.