Two advocacy groups and a consulting firm they hired have prepared a 20-page report saying a “precipitous decline” in funding for California’s bottle bill has led to redemption rates falling from a peak of 85 percent to 66 percent in recent years. The bottle bill legislation has an 80 percent target rate.
EPA is encouraging all Americans to recycle materials from their households and properly dispose of personal protective equipment (PPE), especially during the Coronavirus public health emergency. Recycling isn’t just good for the planet by reducing the amount of waste going to landfills and saving energy, it also supports American manufacturing.
In a letter sent to congressional leaders May 5, the National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) calls upon legislators to prioritize critical infrastructure industries, including waste and recycling, in the next COVID-19 relief package that Congress will take up soon. The Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) designated the waste collection industry as essential in March.
Plastic film has long been identified as a major contaminant in municipal materials recovery programs. Research from the West Coast shows just how challenging it has been to educate residents around proper bag behavior.
When stay-at-home orders shuttered offices across the U.S. last month, one industry was especially hard hit: toilet-paper makers. Just as consumer demand for their product surged during the lockdown, they lost access to the cheap recycled office paper that’s typically used to make toilet rolls. That induced some of the world's biggest makers to switch to pulp sourced directly from trees, adding significant costs and harming the environment.
It was one small example of the widespread disruption that the virus is causing for the recycling business, and thus for the entire economy.
According to a study from The Recycling Partnership, large and mid-sized cities in California see an average contamination rate of around 20%, a finding that underscores the complications of aligning enthusiastic residents with local-program realities.
The Recycling Partnership, an organization that is backed by corporate stakeholders and is geared toward improving municipal recycling in the U.S., undertook research in 2019 to better understand material quality in communities of 50,000 people or more in California, Oregon and Washington.
Recycling has been the subject of many negative headlines over the past two years: “The World’s Recycling is in Chaos;” “RIP: Recycling is Dead as We Know It;” “Recycling is a Waste.” The list goes on. Of the communities surveyed in The Recycling Partnership’s 2019 “The State of Curbside Recycling” report, more than 50 have canceled their recycling programs, and 29 percent have stopped collecting certain items.
California and Oregon recently reported lower statewide diversion rates, a trend that’s been ongoing for multiple years in both states.
Given the latest results, California will fall short of its 75% recycling rate goal for 2020, state officials acknowledged in their recent report.
In 2018, the Beaver State notched a 40.8% recovery rate, down from 41.6% in 2017, according to an April report from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).
The Department of Environmental Quality recently released an analysis of waste recovery in Oregon for 2018, the most recent year for which numbers are available.
Lane County recycled and composted 53.8% of its trash in 2018.