Washington's Recycling Rate Remains Above 50% - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Washington's Recycling Rate Remains Above 50%

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OLYMPIA - According to data from the Washington Department of Ecology, the state's recycling rate reached 50.1% in 2012.

This was the second year in a row that the rate exceeded the 50% goal set by a 1989 Washington law. The national average was 34.7% in 2011.

The total amount of municipal solid waste recycled by state residents went down by nearly 90,000 tons in 2012, or about 2% from the previous year, while the amount of MSW disposed increased by almost 20,000 tons.  This resulted in a slight drop in the recycling rate, falling from the high of 50.7% in 2011.

 In 2012, recycling materials instead of sending them to landfills helped the state avoid emitting 2.6 million tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.  Also, recycling saved enough energy to power 1.1 million homes for a year (nearly half the households in Washington).
Washington residents recycled over 4.4 million tons of material in 2012, equal to 3.5 pounds recycled per person per day.  Glass, gypsum, and organic materials, including food and yard debris, showed the biggest increases in recycling.  Metals and newspaper had the biggest declines.
The overall amount of waste diverted from landfills – which includes materials reused and burned for energy in addition to being recycled – decreased from 57.2% in 2011 to 54.7% in 2012.  This was largely due to a drop in asphalt and concrete materials diverted and a decline in the amount of wood that was burned for energy.