County Recycling Rate Now 40.5 %
County Continues to Exceed State Mandate
July 14, 2014, Prince William, VA — Prince William County’s official recycling rate for 2013 was 40.5 percent. 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. By comparison, the 2012 rate was 41.3 percent.
The Commonwealth of Virginia requires each city, county, town or region to maintain a minimum recycling rate. It is 25 percent 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 in the waste stream that are diverted for reuse, recycled, or composted. 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.
For 2013, countywide recycling dropped about one percent primarily due to a drop in the amount of scrap metal recycled. Additionally, the increase in countywide trash production by about two percent also contributed to the overall drop in recycling rate. “These results indicate that the countywide recycling rate remains relatively flat,” according to Prince William County Recycling Program Manager Scott MacDonald,” the County will need to take additional steps in the future if we want to continue progress in our waste reduction program.”
The Prince William County Solid Waste Division recently commissioned a study of the waste going into the County Landfill and according to the results of the study, approximately 38 percent of the waste going into landfill could have been recycled and 33 percent composted. The Solid Waste Division is currently evaluating that information and also is considering options to improve the County’s overall waste reduction efforts.
The national recycling rate in 2012 was 34.5 percent, slightly behind the national goal of 35 percent recycling by the Year 2010 issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Although Prince William County is above the national recycling rate, it is currently below both statewide (41.5 percent) and Northern Virginia (47.3 percent) averages.
According to 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
Tom Smith, Solid Waste Division Chief noted, “Citizens, business and the Prince William County Solid Waste Division staff will have to work together to keep our recycling and environmental protection efforts moving forward to better protect the health, safety, and environment of our community. Recycling and waste reduction programs will extend the life of the Prince William County Landfill for future generations.”
The Prince William County Solid Waste Division encourages businesses, organizations, schools and families to seek ways to reduce waste and increase recycling.