New data from the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery showed that California’s overall recycling rate fell to 47 percent in 2015—the first time it’s been below 50 percent since 2010. The data shows that disposal amounts increased by 2 million tons in 2015 compared to 2014.
Yubanet has more in a report by Californians Against Waste:
Contributing to the recycling drop are low commodity prices, closed recycling centers and cheap disposal alternatives. The low commodity prices for paper, plastics and metals are driven by low oil prices, which in turn makes processing and producing virgin materials from natural resources appear to be cheaper.
Low commodity prices have resulted in the closure of more than 662 recycling centers in California over the last 12 months, with potentially hundreds more closing after July 1, unless urgency legislation is enacted to restore recycler reimbursements to 2015 levels.
In addition to low commodity prices, recyclers and composter must also compete with artificially low priced disposal options that fail to incorporate their true environmental and regulatory costs.
While new policies have been adopted in an effort to increase recycling (including requirements for businesses to recycle and compost), sporadic enforcement, under investment and slow implementation have undermined program effectiveness and failed to offset increased consumer consumption of disposables.