Virginia's Recycling Rate Hits 40% for First Time in 2010

Date: November 10, 2011

Source: Virginia Department of Environmental Quality

The state of Virginia reports that its recycling rate surpassed 40 percent for the first time in 2010, according to the state's Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) annual report. Based on data submitted by 71 solid waste planning units comprised of local governments and regional authorities, the recycling rate rose to 40.5 percent from 38.6 percent a year earlier. "This significant improvement reflects the ongoing support by Virginians for recycling in their communities," said DEQ Director David K. Paylor. The DEQ attributes the improvement to the increased adoption of single-stream collection and processing of recyclables by municipalities. Virginia adopted a recycling mandate in 1989 that requires planning units of sufficient population density to achieve a recycling rate of at least 25 percent. "Recycling is one of the easiest ways for all Virginians to make a difference in conserving the environment and landfill space," said Virginia natural resources secretary Doug Domenech, in a statement. The 2% jump breaks a four-year streak of the rate hovering around 38.5%, the report said.


PRESS RELEASE
November 9, 2010

Virginia Issues 2010 Recycling Report

RICHMOND, VA. The Department of Environmental Quality has issued its annual report for 2010 on recycling by Virginia localities, and for the first time since the adoption of the state's recycling mandate in 1989, the Commonwealth's recycling rate has surpassed 40 percent.

Using data from the recycling rate reports submitted by Virginia's 71 solid waste planning units (either a local government or a regional authority), DEQ reports that Virginia recycled 40.5 percent of its municipal and other solid wastes in 2010. The report quantifies the continuing growth of recycling in the Commonwealth and shows an increase over the 2009 recycling rate of 38.6 percent.

"This significant improvement reflects the ongoing support by Virginians for recycling in their communities," DEQ Director David K. Paylor said.

"Recycling is one of the easiest ways for all Virginians to make a difference in conserving the environment and landfill space," Virginia Natural Resources Secretary Doug Domenech said. "I urge everyone to think before they throw things into the trash. There is really no reason to bury so much of our trash in the ground."

One of the main reasons for the increase is the adoption in more localities of "single stream" collection methods for recyclable goods. This means that more residents are allowed to place all of their recyclables in a single bin without sorting into bottles, cans, paper, etc. All of the separation into marketable grades and types of material happens at the processing center.

Each planning unit is required to achieve a minimum 25 percent recycling rate unless its population density is less than 100 people per square mile, or its unemployment rate is 50 percent or more above the statewide unemployment average. Localities meeting these criteria are required to achieve a minimum 15 percent recycling rate.

The report is available on the DEQ website at www.deq.virginia.gov/. It provides an overview of the materials recycled, the amount of waste disposed, and a listing of the recycling rate reported by each solid waste planning unit for 2010.

Contact: Bill Hayden
(804) 698-4447
william.hayden@deq.virginia.gov.

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