County Recycling Rate Increases to 41.3%

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County Continues to Exceed State Mandate 

June 24, 2013, Prince William, VA — Prince William County achieved a recycle rate of 41.3% in 2012.  The Prince William County Public Works, Solid Waste Division Recycling Office received confirmation from Virginia Department of Environment Quality (DEQ) of the County’s Recycling Rate in June. This was an increase from the 2011 recycling rate of 40.7%.

The Commonwealth of Virginia requires each city, county, town or region to maintain a minimum recycling rate.  It is 25% for Prince William County.  Based upon the criteria established by the Commonwealth of Virginia, Prince William County exceeded the mandated recycling rate again this year.

The recycling rate is determined by a number of factors, but basically it is a measure of the materials diverted for reuse, recycling, or composting in the county waste stream.  Diverted materials are kept separate from the regular trash then sorted, processed, and converted into materials to produce new products Regular trash is buried in the County’s sanitary landfill located on Dumfries Road or combusted at the Fairfax County I-95 Energy/Resource Recovery Facility in Lorton.

“According to the Prince William County Solid Waste Management Plan 2010 Update, our base recycling rate goal is 40% (before credits) by 2020.  With the help of Prince William County families and businesses this goal is definitely achievable,” stated Prince William County Recycling Program Manager Scott MacDonald.  The 2012 recycling rate before credits, also called the base recycling rate is 36.3%, compared to 35.7% base rate in 2011.

A national goal of 35 percent recycling by the Year 2010 was issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). According the EPA publication, Recycling for the Future: Consider the Benefits, at least eight categories of benefits result from the recycling of solid waste.

  • Reducing the need for new landfills
  • Preventing emissions of many air and water pollutants
  • Saving energy
  • Supplying valuable raw materials to industry
  • Creating jobs
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions
  • Stimulating the development of greener technologies
  • Conserving resources for our children’s future

“Our recycling rate is moving in the right direction.  With the help of our citizens, our staff can better protect the health, safety, and environment of the community,” noted Tom J. Smith, Solid Waste Division Chief.

Of course, there is still work to do.  Currently, the community still disposes of 55% of the waste, so there are opportunities to reduce, reuse and recycle more.  Businesses, organizations, schools and families can seek new ways to reduce their waste by changing habits and shopping practices, as well as stay informed about new items that can be recycled in the community. These practices will help reduce the amount of trash that is disposed, which helps save valuable space and extends the useful life of the landfill. 



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