Everyone wants better data; who pays for it, and what’s the best way to get it?

Read the full story in Waste Dive.

The inaugural Measurement Matters Summit in Chattanooga, TN brought together a long list of behind-the-scenes officials and professionals at a previously unprecedented scale this week. “We can’t pilot this ship without a compass,” said Will Sagar, executive director of the Southeast Recycling Development Council.

A total of 37 states and Washington, D.C. engaged in the Environmental Protection Agency’s State Measurement Program during 2016, using Re-TRAC Connect, but more participation is needed and more standardized data would improve the value of those inputs. Better data can help states make the case for agency budgets, learn from other programs, show the economic benefits of various recycling policies and spot opportunities for infrastructure development.

As it stands, many agencies or local governments don’t have the budgets to collect this information — let alone thoroughly analyze it. Outdated regulations limiting those activities, or differences in terminology, are some of the many complicating factors. Getting industry sources to share this information can also be difficult in some cases, further limiting the breadth of what can be collected.

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