RECYCLING UP IN STATE BUT DOWN IN UNION COUNTY

September 01, 2001 12:00 am
CAN-DO SPIRIT: Union County residents have a new, more ambitious recycling goal to shoot for during the next year. ().
CAN-DO SPIRIT: Union County residents have a new, more ambitious recycling goal to shoot for during the next year. ().

By The Observer

The states recycling rate went up, but Union Countys went down in 2000, according to statistics from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.

Statewide, the recycling percentage rose to 38.9 percent from 36.8.

But Union Countys dropped from 24 percent in 1999 to 22 percent for all of last year.

Wallowa Countys recycling rate for 2000 was at 21 percent.

There is a reason for the downturn, said Darin Larvik of City Garbage Service. Until last year, when county residents dumped their yard debris at the Fox Hill Landfill, the debris was recycled into compost. Last year, DEQ required that composting stop at the landfill, Larvik said.

However, recycling may begin to increase, since a new recycling center for yard debris opened in August. Larvik said the center, the Material Recovery Facility, has proved popular. The center accepts yard debris, which is recycled into compost.

I cant believe how many people weve had, Larvik said.

The recycling center, on Highway 30 near the La Grande city limits, is open Saturdays and Mondays.

La Grande residents who pay for garbage pickup may recycle at no cost, Larvik said. Others pay $6 for the first 350 pounds, and $1.75 for each additional 100 pounds.

The state DEQ compiles recycling figures every year from a survey of garbage haulers and private recycling companies. The major types of materials recovered include paper, wood waste, yard debris, metals, plastics, glass, used tires and used motor oil.

Lane County posted a 52 percent recycling rate last year, the highest in the state, according to the DEQ, while Lake County had the lowest, 8

percent.

Union County has a new recycling goal of 26.17 percent; Wallowa Countys goal is 20 percent.