Regional News

Washington’s recycling rate dips to 49 percent

Dec 30, 2014

Washington state’s recycling rate fell slightly to 49 percent in 2013, but remains well above the national average, according to data reported today by the Washington Department of Ecology.

The 2013 rate was down from 50.1 percent in 2012. Nationally, the average recycling rate was 34.5 percent in 2012.

The decline was driven by a 105,000-ton drop in the amount of material recycled by state residents in 2013, even as the total amount of material disposed grew by 88,000 tons. Recycling was down in several major categories, such as appliances, cardboard and wood waste.

“Recycling not only keeps material out of the landfill, it also saves a huge amount of energy – enough to power 1.3 million homes in Washington in 2013,” said Laurie Davies, manager of Ecology’s Waste 2 Resources program. “That’s why it’s important that we all do our part to get our state’s recycling rate back over 50 percent.”

On average, Washington residents recycled 3.4 pounds per person per day in 2013. Electronics, gypsum, and nonferrous metals showed the biggest increases in recycling, and Washington’s E-Cycle recycling program passed 250 million pounds of TVs, computers and other electronics collected since the program began in 2009.

The diversion rate measures the total amount of waste diverted from landfills, including both recycled materials and those reused or burned for energy. The diversion rate fell from 52.4 percent in 2012 to 51.2 percent in 2013. This was largely due to a drop in construction and demolition related materials diverted from the waste stream, despite an increase in construction activity.

“As the economy recovers and more construction is underway, we need to work with builders to ensure they are reusing or recycling materials whenever possible,” Davies said.

If you have questions on where you can recycle an item, visit, or call 1-800-RECYCLE.



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