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Observer 11/24/14

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Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow REPORT: RECYCLING DECLINES

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REPORT: RECYCLING DECLINES

Union County's recycling rate went down for the second consecutive year, according to reports for 2001 from the state.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality reports that Union County's rate was 21.8 percent and Wallowa county's was 19.2 percent for the year. The recycling rate for 2000 was 22 percent in Union County and 21 percent in Wallowa County.

The Union County rate is expected to go up for 2002, however, as the City of La Grande instituted a curbside recycling program earlier this fall. The city also began a yard recycling program for residents who take their yard debris to the Material Recovery Facility (MRF) on Highway 30.

Residents are paying an additional $5.25 monthly for the two recycling programs.

Mike Hyde, La Grande's community development director, said recently that about 710 tons of yard debris had been collected during the year at the MRF.

DEQ reported that statewide, recycling reached 46.8 percent, the highest since records began 10 years ago. Marion County had the state's highest recycling rate, 55.7 percent, while Lake County recorded the lowest rate at 11.2 percent..

Mary Sue Gilliland, solid waste program manager, said that DEQ counts both residential and commercial recycling.

Commenting on Marion County's high rate, she said, "They're close to markets and it's not as expensive to get the goods to market, especially since prices have fallen."

Rural areas such as Union and Wallowa counties must take their recyclables hundreds of miles to market areas, she said.

The most common types of materials recovered include paper, organics such as wood waste and yard debris, metals, plastics, glass, used tires and used motor oil.

As recycling increased, the amount of trash and garbage thrown away went down from 1,617 pounds per capita in 2000 to 1,521 pounds in 2001. The total amount of garbage thrown away went down from 2.78 million tons to 2.64 million tons for the same period.

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