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Oregonians generate more trash in 2015 but recovery rates rose.

Oregon generated more than 5.1 tons of municipal solid waste last year, up nearly five percent compared to 2014, as the state fell short of a goal of avoiding an annual trash haul increase.

The Department of Environmental Quality reported the data in its 2015 "Material Recovery and Waste Generation Rates Report." It showed that Oregonians generated 7.1 pounds of municipal solid waste per person per day, up from 6.8 pounds in 2014.

Oregonians tossed more trash on the pile in 2015, but the DEQ said recovery rates rose.

That was the sharpest per capita annual increase since waste generation peaked in the middle of the past decade.

The DEQ's Michelle Shepperd said there was nothing in the data that could help pinpoint why the state ramped up waste generation in 2015, although an improving economy could have been one factor.

The department was able to point to some reasonably good news, however: Just over half of our waste 50.3 percent--was "recovered," either recycled, composted or used to make energy.

"Recycling by Oregonians continues to conserve resources, save energy, and reduce pollution such as greenhouse gas emissions," David Allaway, a senior policy analyst in DEQ's Materials Management Program, said in a statement. "From Pendleton to Port Orford, recycling is a modest but meaningful way that Oregonians can protect our environment every day."

That said, as in past years, it did take the use of "recovery credits," added for reuse and home composting efforts, to get over the 50 percent recovery mark, DEQ said. Strictly by the numbers, just 46.5 percent of the total tonnage avoided landfills or incinerators.

By weight, yard debris made up the highest proportion of materials recovered, at 22 percent, with metals (18 percent), cardboard (17 percent) and wood waste (17 percent) also high on the list.

Source: Pete Danko, Portland Business Journal

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Publication:Solid Waste Report
Date:Nov 14, 2016
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