Virginia recycling rate falls in 2012 but stays above national average

Virginia recycling rate falls in 2012 but stays above national average

By Bobby Elliott, Resource Recycling

Nov. 11, 2013

Virginia's 2012 recycling rate edged over the 40 percent mark for the third consecutive year, despite falling slightly from 2011 totals.

According to the "Virginia Annual Recycling Rate Report" released by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Virginia's 2012 calculated recycling rate was 41.5 percent. Down two percentage points from 2011's record-high of 43.5 percent, the state managed to recycle 3,891,565 million tons of waste during the year.

According to the U.S. EPA, the U.S recycling rate was 34.7 percent in 2011, the most recent year for which figures are available.

All but one of Virginia's 71 "waste planning units," tasked with providing recycling data to the state, met population-based recycling goals that range between 15 and 25 percent. The eight most densely populated areas of the state, including Richmond and Northern Virginia, accounted for approximately 86 percent of recycling activity. On the whole, those areas saw recycling rates drop by an average of 1.64 percentage points year-over-year (YOY).

The biggest gains were made in glass recycling, which was up 34.9 percent YOY. E-scrap recycling fell 6.2 percent YOY, according to the report.

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