Virginia Recycling on a Steady Decline

By: Marcus Washington
By: Marcus Washington

January 23, 2006

The recycling rate in the state of Virginia continues to drop, leaving many state environmental officials wondering what to do.

"It just takes a little consciousness--you have to have some way to organize it at home that's easy for the whole family to use," said recycler Lisa Olko. She has recycled for more than 20 years, and says it its a good habit she is passing along to her kids. "It's all our jobs to do together as [citizens]."

Recent information compiled by the state's Department of Environmental Quality shows that Virginia has declined in its recycle rate for the past 3 years. According to the data, rural areas where adequate recycle resources were not available have the most problems. This is because if someone in the area wanted to recycle, there is no one to pick it up, and the recycle facilities are more than likely not near their homes.

"They should provide curbside recycling to make it easier for everyone," said Olko.

Those who recycle in Albemarle County are no strangers to no curbside pickup. In 2003 because of budget constraints, only Newsprint, Magazines, and catalogs were part of curbside pickup. This leaves many wondering what to do.

"I hope that more people can do it. I know it is a hassle but it's getting out, at least you are getting out and you're seeing other people doing it and you get inspired to do it together," said Olko.

A study by the state's Department of Environmental Quality shows Richmond posted the state's highest recycling rate in 2004 at 44.6 percent.

Northampton County on the other hand recycled at just 1.06 percent.

In 1989 a mandatory recycling law was passed stating that cities and counties should recycle at least 25 percent of the respected county or cities garbage by 1995.

No city or county has been fined for not meeting the minimum recycle rate. There is talk with state environmental officials to lower the rate from 25 percent to 15 percent.

The Charlottesville area is doing its part to recycle items, as the area recycles more than the 25 percent recycle minimum.

For information about where to recycle in your area, just log onto

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