An official website of the United States government.

This is not the current EPA website. To navigate to the current EPA website, please go to This website is historical material reflecting the EPA website as it existed on January 19, 2021. This website is no longer updated and links to external websites and some internal pages may not work. More information »

Managing and Transforming Waste Streams – A Tool for Communities

Contracting Best Practices: Reward Workers for More Diversion

Contracts can require contractors to compensate, train and manage workers to reward waste diversion. Management, technical assistance personnel, drivers, and customer service representatives can be incentivized to prioritize waste reduction and increase recycling and composting. For example, the contractor could contractually commit annual zero waste training requirements and to a worker incentive fund, which would be relatively easy to audit and monitor.


  • Raises contractor capabilities: Training requirements support stronger community program implementation and outreach.
  • Achieve diversion results: If workers are given training or economic incentives, they are more likely to figure out ways to reduce waste.


  • Potential increased costs: Added costs for incentives and training could increase cost of service; however, the program could be structured to increase training requirements and incentive payments without increasing overall costs.
  • Potential compensation complications: Incentive payment requirements could create problems for employers if the contract interferes with company or labor compensation practices.