Thanks to the efforts and commitment to recycling by central Virginia citizens and businesses the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VA DEQ) has notified Central Virginia Waste Management Authority (CVWMA) that its regional recycling rate has once again exceeded 55 percent! This means that an estimated 58.9% of the waste generated in our region for calendar year 2016 was recycled and kept out of area landfills.
CVWMA, a cooperative government agency that coordinates recycling and other waste management programs with thirteen area local governments, compiles the annual regional recycling rate and submits the information to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. State law requires that the region recycle at least 25 percent of their waste each year.
Nearly 102,786 tons of paper-related material (newspaper, office paper and cardboard) was recycled in 2016. Yard waste and wood waste which are chipped into compost or mulch comprise another 248,633 tons recycled. Metals, textiles, glass and plastic are also measured for the report. Auto bodies, appliances, and assorted other metal items made up the nearly 77,480 tons of metal that were recycled in 2016. Clothing donations to organizations such as Goodwill and the Salvation Army contribute to the textiles total of about 8,272 tons.
The trash generation figure is an estimate based on national research. The Environmental Protection Agency (Franklin Associates) estimates that citizens create an average of 4.38 pounds of trash per person per day.
The recycling rate is computed by dividing the amount recycled in the region by the amount of trash generated. The amount recycled is gathered from local and national businesses providing recycling to the area. The total amount recycled and not land filled for the region in calendar year 2016 was 511,463 tons.
CVWMA recycling programs include residential (curbside) collection and drop-off centers; yard waste, electronics, appliance, batteries, HHW and tires to name a few. Residential (Curbside) recycling collects approximately 36,000 tons annually; drop-off recycling, about 5,600 tons. That is a lot of paper, bottles, and cans!
The regional rate has remained above 55 percent for the past several years, making central Virginia one of the highest recycling regions in the state. Variations in the rate are attributed to the number of businesses who provide information to CVWMA. Contributions are voluntary.