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  • Writer's pictureEd Ehlers

Small Town Leading Big Change in Recycling!

Updated: Nov 18, 2023

The Town of Clifton, VA (estimated population 280) has received a Virginia State Department of Environmental Quality Grant to recycle everything, except anything yucky.

refuse, reduce, reuse, rehome, recycle
5R's of Resource Recovery

Since April 2021, a start-up business has been disrupting the way residents of the greater Clifton area handle their trash. In fact, they don’t even talk about trash, waste, or garbage. They focus on resources. Resources have value and are worth recovering. To date, 46 households have recovered over 50,000 lbs. of resources and 96% of them have been recovered. Although there is currently no other similar program in the US, the Project is repeatable and expandable to localities around the country.

“Not only have I reduced my garbage bills, but I’ve also reduced my consumption and changed my consumer habits...” – Matt, Project Member

Recycling is complex with a lot of gray areas. Resource Recovery is simple. The Resource Recovery Project, partnering with the town of Clifton, accepts all materials if they are clean and dry. The resources are then hand sorted and sent to 29 recovery streams to be reused, repurposed, rehomed, or recycled.

According to The Recycling Partnership, "Curbside recycling in the U.S. currently recovers only 32% of available recyclables." That percentage does not include other items, such as textiles, shoes, books, toner cartridges, and electronics. The Resource Recovery Project partners with large companies such as Republic Services, Terracycle, Giant Foods, Green Drop, and small, local enterprises like Homeward Trails Animal Shelter to recover all these items and more.

Town of Clifton residents can participate as Project Members at reduced subscription rates. The grant also provides for events such as a glass recovery day, a town cleanup, and the July Fourth Picnic at which all residents and visitors can participate.

To learn more contact Ed Ehlers at, follow on Facebook @resourcerecoveryproject, and visit

Resource Recovery Project Logo

The Resource Recovery Project is pioneering true, single-stream, curbside resource recovery. We challenge the idea that recycling is not easy, cheap, efficient, or effective - it can be! We collect most resources (except liquids, organics & food, and medical waste) as long as it is clean & dry. We find the highest and best use for collected resources - reuse, repurpose, rehome, and recycle.

If you are in the greater Clifton, VA area, we invite you to make the most of your recycling efforts and join The Resource Recovery Project (RRP).

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