In early March, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decided it was time for the state to aim high in when it comes to recycling. That's when the agency formally adopted a state solid waste management plan that calls for a statewide landfill diversion rate of 50 percent.
In 2007, the last time the rate was measured, Ohio's diversion rate was 40.7 percent. The state's all-time high came in 2002, with a diversion rate that nearly reached 45 percent.
"I challenge all of Ohio's residents, communities and businesses to increase recycling efforts so our state can become a leader in practices that reduce our reliance on landfills when managing solid waste," said Ohio EPA Director Chris Korleski in a press release.
In short, the plan requires each of Ohio's 52 solid waste management districts to beef up its efforts to educate the community about recycling options and the benefits of recycling.
Among other things, the plan, which Ohio EPA developed in collaboration with the state's Solid Waste Management Advisory Council, requires the solid waste management districts to prepare and implement recycling marketing programs that target five audiences. The plan also mandates that the districts provide Web sites and resource guides that detail all of the public's available recycling options. According to a report by Cleveland's National Public Radio affiliate, local solid waste management districts must file progress reports with Ohio EPA by November 2011.
According to an Ohio EPA summary of the plan, the agency "will investigate developing streamlined rules to permit and operate waste-to-energy facilities" as part of its effort to increase the landfill diversion rate.
"Even with Ohio's impressive reduction and recycling efforts, we continue to generate more and more waste," said Korleski in remarks that are included in the copy of the plan itself. "Too much of this waste is still making its way to landfills. Quite a bit of that waste is recyclable and has economic value. Thus, by disposing of waste, we squander resources."
A copy of the plan is available at www.epa.ohio.gov or by calling the Ohio Division of Solid and Infectious Waste Management at (614) 644-2621.
In other recycling news:
Former Radio Shack CEO David Edmondson and former Sprint President Ron LeMay have created eRecyclingCorps, a Dallas-based cell phone recycling firm. The company oversees programs that offer consumers credit on a new phone when they recycle their old phones.
The Aluminum Can Council's (ACC) America Recycles Day Challenge, held over 12 weeks last year, collected more than 105 million used aluminum beverage cans (approximately 3 million pounds) for recycling and raised more than $2.3 million for charity. According to the event organizers, the number of recycled cans represented a 679 percent increase from the 2008 contest.
The contest is one in which aluminum suppliers and beverage can manufacturers compete to see which facility can recycle the most aluminum cans per employee.
Rexam's Chatsworth, Calif., beverage can plant won the contest. The plant recycled more than 34 million aluminum beverage cans.
"We want to thank the ACC for initiating this industry-wide contest and giving the aluminum beverage can industry a platform to show our local communities how easy and important it is to recycle," said Andre Balbi, president and CEO of Rexam Beverage Can Americas, in a press release.
The money raised was donated to several organizations, including Habitat for Humanity, the American Red Cross, Toys for Tots, local parks, local schools and other non-profit groups.