Lisa Skumatz

Presentation Title

Do We Have It all Wrong? Better and Practical Metrics for Measuring Success and Guide What to do Next!
Lisa Skumatz, President, Skumatz Economic Research Associates (SERA)


The traditional ways to measure recycling progress may no longer be the best. This talk discusses the pros / cons on these approaches:  percent of the waste stream diverted, generation and diversion tons per household, and landfill diversion. Then it presents an updated approach that provides more advantages and fewer disadvantages than many others, allowing simple measurement (even in communities without strong reporting), easy definition and comparison, robustness in economic upturns and downturns, and the ability to attribute progress to programs.  Unlike traditional options, this tracking metric provides actionable information – and goes beyond tonnage to inform choices on the basis of GHG, “value”, and benefit-cost.  This new metric may be an easy and engaging way for communities to track and communicate progress to residents.


Lisa Skumatz is an economist with 36 years in solid waste research.  She has conducted solid waste program and policy research around the nation, and published more than 100 articles on trash, recycling, organics, and reduction strategies.  Lisa is known for her quantitative analysis expertise and she focuses on research that helps inform program decision-making by communities, states, and haulers.  Lisa has spoken at more than 100 conferences, and keynoted at conferences in both the US and internationally. She is on the Board of NRC and Colorado SWANA and CAFR, and won two nationwide lifetime achievement awards for her work in Solid Waste.