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Transportation planning

County’s residents push recycling, diversion rates to highest ever


Peter DuBois, Environmental Services
Phone: (360) 397-2121 ext. 4961

Anita Largent, Environmental Services
Phone: (360) 397-2121 ext. 4484

Vancouver, WA – Almost two-thirds of the waste generated by Clark County residents is either recycled or otherwise diverted from landfills, according to new data.

The county’s 65 percent diversion rate is the highest ever. Recycling paper, cardboard, metal, glass and yard debris accounts for 54 percent of the diverted waste. The remainder of the diverted waste includes construction debris, tires, latex paint and other materials that are recovered and reused in some way.

The state of Washington has a diversion rate of 55 percent and recycling rate of 50 percent. The national average for recycling is 35 percent, based on 2011 figures.

The Washington State Department of Ecology compiled the Clark County data for 2012, the most recent available.

County data show a 4 percent increase in the recycling rate from 2011 to 2012. Although residents are generating more waste – from 7.95 pounds per person per day to 8.32 pounds – that increase is being recovered and kept out of a landfill. The county continues to have the same landfill rate: 2.89 pounds per person per day.

Recycling and diverting waste is important to the environment. By reusing aluminum, paper, glass, plastic and other materials, the community saves production costs because manufacturing with these recycled materials requires less energy. Recycling materials also reduces the negative effects extraction and processing of raw materials have on the environment.

By recycling more and using fewer raw materials, county residents also reduce greenhouse gases. The county estimates that 395,300 metric tons of greenhouse gas would be created if materials were not recycled and raw materials were used.

By recycling, each county resident annually offsets 1 ton of greenhouse gas emissions. This is equivalent to keeping 77,500 passenger cars off the road or conserving 44.3 million gallons of gasoline each year.

“The citizens of Clark County should be proud of all they have accomplished,” said Don Benton, Environmental Services director. “Recycling is good for our environment, our community and our economy.

“These numbers are truly impressive, and they remind us that one person taking an action can have a dramatic, cumulative effect,” he said. “Businesses and citizens are able to operate and live in a more sustainable, environmentally friendly community.”

For more information on the county’s recycling program, contact Clark County Solid Waste by phone at (360) 397-2121 ext. 4352 or email at

Information also is available on the county’s website at

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