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Most area localities lagging behind in recycling, according to state report
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By RUSTY DENNEN
Despite a stronger push toward recycling in recent years, all but two area localities fell behind the Virginia average, according to the latest state report.
Only the Rappahannock Regional Solid Waste Management Board, which handles trash disposal and recycling for Fredericksburg and Stafford County, was above the 38.6 percent statewide average in the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality's report for 2009, which was released last week.
The R-Board's recycling rate--the percentage of solid waste recycled--was 45.4 percent, among the highest in Virginia. One reason is the R-Board's switch to a "single stream" waste system in 2008.
Recycle America, a subsidiary of Waste Management Inc., picks up and sorts the materials for sale to end users. Its single-stream process results in an average recovery of up to 30 percent more recyclable materials while maintaining material quality equal to, if not better than, traditional recycling processes.
Next-highest in the region was Spotsylvania County, at 37.3 percent. Louisa County came in third, at 35.8 percent.
Each locality or planning unit, composed of a group of localities, must recycle at least 25 percent of materials collected unless its population density is less than 100 people per square mile or its unemployment rate is 50 percent or more above the statewide average. Localities meeting those criteria, including several in the Fredericksburg area, had to have a recycling rate of at least 15 percent.
Falling short of the goal were the Northern Neck planning unit, which includes Lancaster, Northumberland, Richmond and Westmoreland counties, at 22.1 percent; Orange County, 21.5 percent; King George County, 20 percent; and Caroline County, 15.3 percent.
Recycled materials mainly include paper, metal, plastic, glass, yard waste, wood, textiles, tires, oil and filters, antifreeze, auto bodies, batteries and electronics.
The top recycler in the state was the Central Virginia Waste Management Authority--including Richmond and its suburbs--at 52.8 percent.Read the report: deq.virginia.gov/export/sites/default/recycle/Annual RRR2009Final.pdf
Call2Recycle, a national company that collects used batteries and cell phones, says a well-designed program to recycle items "can enhance a brand, generate loyalty and make a major impact on environmental preservation." It has these tips for companies aiming for better results:
Avoid collection kiosks that resemble trash cans, and move them away from trash bins.
Take-back kiosks should be shaped to fit the items for recycling.
Kiosks should be visible and near an entrance.
Train employees to implement recycling programs.call2recycle.org/ beyondthebin