Municipal solid waste (MSW) is made up of garbage plus recycling and organics. Seattle’s goal is to reach 60% recycling of MSW by the year 2012, and 70% by 2025. SPU uses robust sources of data and analytic tools support projections and progress tracking.
Seattle's population is forecast to increase by almost 8% between 2010 and 2020. Employment is expected to rise, with a shift away from manufacturing. With people and jobs increases, the total generation of discards will also rise.
From looking at employment trends, SPU learns what kinds of businesses (and their attendant wastes) will be contributing to the commercial waste steam. Waste generation directly correlates with economic cycles. Municipal solid waste generation dropped with the recession after the economic high of 2007. SPU expects total generation to rise again as the economy recovers, minus the effects of waste prevention programs.