New Jersey's Waste and Recycling Data: 1993-2016

Published: 10 August 2019| Version 2 | DOI: 10.17632/7yc4c3pmtp.2
Jordan Howell,


Reliable data about collection, volume, tonnage, stream composition, and disposal price have long been described as key components of successful solid waste management planning. Yet, concerns about data quality and quantity have continued to limit even the most sincere, progressive waste management schemes. The paper associated with this dataset examines solid waste management data that has been collected in the US state of New Jersey starting in the 1960s. We present the origins of waste management data collection in New Jersey and trace some of the applications that have been made with the data over time. We compare the New Jersey dataset to waste management data that has been collected in other US states. We then describe our work collecting, cleaning, and preparing for public dissemination and use in a geospatial visualization exercise a digital version of the data spanning approximately 1993 to 2016, before presenting some illustrations of the type of modeling and analysis that researchers or the concerned public would be able to undertake now that the dataset is available. We argue that the New Jersey waste management dataset is much better than most other waste datasets in the US, but despite this fairly high quality, there remain significant gaps which inhibit the ability of planners to design and implement comprehensive waste management plans. That there are limits inherent to the New Jersey dataset suggests, we argue, a ceiling to the usefulness of waste management data as a category of environmental knowledge with possible implications for ‘big’ environmental data more broadly. The dataset includes solid waste tonnage data by county and disposal facility, and recycling tonnage data by municipality, for the years 1993-2016. It also includes a brief essay explaining the types of modeling that could be undertaken using the dataset. Finally, several geospatial data files are included that will allow users to visualize some of the solid waste data using ESRI products. Portions of the project data can also be examined on a web-based platform, NJ Map, at



Sustainability, Solid Waste, Recycling, New Jersey