JANUARY 2012

Virginia’s recycling rate increases

Virginia’s recycling rate surpassed 40 percent for the first time according to the state’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).

Using data from the recycling rate reports submitted by Virginia’s 71 solid waste planning units, 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 the Commonwealth and shows an increase over the 2009 recycling rate of 38.6 percent.

One of the main reasons for the increase in recycling 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.