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Wed Aug 31, 2016, 03:30 PM

What the Heck Is Up With California's Recycling Program?

What the Heck Is Up With California's Recycling Program?
We're tossing more stuff, and bulk recyclers are dropping by the hundreds.


Few states have a greener rep than California, and for good reason. The state has a cap-and-trade program for carbon emissions, solar-energy production exceeding that of all other states combined, and, at the behest of Gov. Jerry Brown, it's now mulling new targets that would slash greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent of 1990 levels by 2030. The state has proved itself a national leader in environmental policy.

On average, each Californian throws nearly five pounds of stuff into landfills daily.
All of which makes California's latest waste and recycling report, issued yearly by state Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle), so bewildering. It reveals that landfill waste in the state jumped to 33.2 million tons in 2015, a one-year increase of 2 million tons, contributing to last year's release of 200,000 extra metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. Per capita, each Californian now tosses 4.7 pounds of stuff into the landfill every day.

The state's rate of recycling also dropped to 47 percent in 2015. That's the lowest rate since 2010, and the first time since the state began measuring that the number has gone below 50 percentónot the greatest news, given California's 2020 goal of recycling 75 percent of all consumer waste.

CalRecycle spokesman Mark Oldfield points to a recovering economy as a primary contributor to the setback...

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