Franklin County's Waste Trends

As Franklin County's population continues to grow and the economy remains strong, the amount of waste being generated both on a community and individual level has increased. In fact, today in Franklin County, residents and businesses send over a million tons of material to the landfill every single year. 

The good news is that the materials being sent to the landfill have remained relatively the same and the even better news is that amount of materials being reused, recycled or composted continues to increase. In fact, Franklin County's diversion rate (50%) exceeds the national average (34%) yet we have more work to do. 

More than three-fourths (76%) of landfilled materials had the potential to be reused, recycled or composted and together have an estimated value of $21 million. In 2019, these landfill materials were studied as part of a Waste Characterization Study which not only found that a high percentage of landfill materials could have been diverted, the study also found that of those discarded materials, the items presenting the biggest opportunities for increasing diversion were food scraps and corrugated cardboard. 

The Top 10 items most commonly found in Franklin County’s waste stream are:

Food Scraps – 15%
Corrugated Cardboard – 10%
Other Compostable Items & Fiber – 9%
Magazines, Newspaper, Office and other paper – 8%
Bulky & Durable Goods - 7%
Construction & Demolition - 4%
Plastic Containers - 4%
Wood Pallets – 4%
Textiles – 4 %
Yard Waste - 3%

Combined, these items make up 68% or 772,234 tons of the material being landfilled. See the graphic.

The three most prevalent items in Franklin County’s waste stream are food scraps, corrugated cardboard and compostable items and fiber. All of these items can either be recovered through currently offered programs or have the potential to be captured and diverted if new programs and services were established.

To find recycling programs for these materials, check out