Officials said Wednesday that the effort would begin with a study of how much of the nearly four tons of trash generated each day can be salvaged and reused.
A $1.1 million gift from Coca-Cola Co. will jump-start the effort and help the Mall catch up with other urban parks across the country. This summer, the National Park Service and its fundraising partners will study the waste generated to see how many and where recycling bins are needed. They hope to begin putting out bins by October.
"This is the icon of democracy, and it should reflect the best practices that we have to offer as a country," said Caroline Cunningham, president of the Trust for the National Mall, a nonprofit group that raises private money to support the Mall's upkeep.