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The Current State of California’s Recycling Program

The Current State of California’s Recycling Program

The state is struggling to maintain its national environmental leadership status.

Lately, the State of California has been faced with many challenges when it comes to waste and recycling. From falling short of its 75 percent recycling goal last year and experiencing hundreds of recycling centers closing this year, the state is struggling to maintain its national environmental leadership status.

Mother Jones has more details:

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.

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 percent—not 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. Economic growth boosts consumption and construction, which necessarily results in more waste, he says: "All of a sudden people are buying new stuff and getting rid of the old."

Read the full story here.

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