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Release Date: 8/15/2002
Contact Information: Mark Merchant, U.S. EPA, 415/947-4297

     Report concludes more can be done to improve recycling rates

     SAN FRANCISCO - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced it has released a recycling report, Assessing the Potential for Resource Management in Clark County to Nevada officials and Republic Silver State, the county’s contracted waste hauler.  The EPA commissioned the study with the Tellus Institute after a February 2001 public recycling forum conducted by the EPA, state of Nevada, and the Clark County Health District.

     Clark County has one of the lowest recycling rates in the nation.  The report concludes that there are significant opportunities to increase both recycling rates and recycling revenues despite the fact that Clark County’s current franchise agreement and solid waste ordinance provide little incentive to increase recycling.

     Clark County has great potential to improve recycling rates and reduce the amount of garbage buried in their landfills, said Wayne Nastri, regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest region.  A little effort by everyone in Las Vegas can make a big difference.

     Clark County has one of the lowest recycling rates in the nation with a 4 percent residential rate and a 16 percent commercial rate for an overall rate of approximately 11 percent in 2000.  That year Washoe County had a 23 percent recycling rate and western communities of comparable size had recycling rates ranging from 45 percent (Sacramento, Calif.)  to 48 percent (Phoenix, Ariz.).  Nevada has a recycling goal of 25 percent and EPA’s recycling goal is 35 percent by 2005.

     The report assess opportunities for resource management an innovative, market driven model that rewards contractors who help their customers divert materials from landfills and increase recycling rates.  Contractors are rewarded through performance bonuses and other contractual incentives funded from cost savings resulting from cost-effective diversion.

Based on public data and average commodity prices over an 8-year period, the report finds:

Using an RM approach, increasing the residential recycling rate in Clark County from 4 percent to 12 percent could create a net revenue benefit of over $2 million;

Reaching a 35 percent recycling rate in Clark County could create a net revenue benefit of $11 million;

Resource Management is a type of performance-based contracting that has been successfully pioneered by companies and communities across the nation;

General Motors used RM to realize a 20 pecent reduction in overall waste generation, a 65 percent  increase in recycling, and a 15-30 percent decrease in waste management costs.

     Interested parties can review the report at:

Copy are on file at the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection or the Clark County offices.  

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