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Legislation has also been used to increase and maintain a demand for recycled materials. Four methods of such legislation exist: minimum recycled content mandates, utilization rates, procurement policies, recycled product labeling.

For a recycling program to work, having a large, stable supply of recyclable material is crucial. Three legislative options have been used to create such a supply: mandatory recycling collection, container deposit legislation, and refuse bans. Mandatory collection laws set recycling targets for cities to aim for, usually in the form that a certain percentage of a material must be diverted from the city's waste stream by a target date. The city is then responsible for working to meet this target.

The glass, lumber, wood pulp, and paper manufacturers all deal directly in commonly recycled materials. However, old rubber tires may be collected and recycled by independent tire dealers for a profit.

Certain public areas such as parks have litter bins which are placed alongside paths frequently walked by visitors. Trash reduction This encourages people to avoid littering, as littering creates an unhealthy and aesthetically unpleasant social environment.

Both minimum recycled content mandates and utilization rates increase demand directly by forcing manufacturers to include recycling in their operations. Content mandates specify that a certain percentage of a new product must consist of recycled material. Utilization rates are a more flexible option: industries are permitted to meet the recycling targets at any point of their operation or even contract recycling out in exchange for tradeable credits. Opponents to both of these methods point to the large increase in reporting requirements they impose, and claim that they rob industry of necessary flexibility.

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