Curbside recycling is provided primarily to single family homes, with some service to multi-family homes (apartments, etc.). This indicator should not be interpreted as the percentage of the population that is recycling. This figure is simply the percentage of the population with access to services, and is based on the population of cities and counties with curbside recycling services.
Washington state's population is nearly 7.3 million and growing. With over a million more people in Washington than there were in 2000, it's important to provide residents with convenient options for recycling. Most residents who don't have curbside recycling services do have access to drop box recycling.
How many Washington residents have access to curbside recycling?
The percentage of residents with access to curbside recycling has varied over time, between 79.8 and 87.4 percent. The percentage has risen steadily every year since 2007 and reached its highest point ever in 2012 at 87.4 percent. Curbside recycling programs tend to occur in densely populated areas. Sparsely populated areas rely more on drop box recycling.
Why should we be concerned about the number of people with access to curbside recycling?
When curbside recycling is available, residents and businesses are likely to recycle more and dispose of less waste, resulting in natural resource and energy savings and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Residents and businesses in rural or underserved areas would recycle more if they had curbside services available.
What are the benefits of increasing the amount of curbside recycling opportunities?
- Convenience often increases participation.
- Increased amount of materials diverted from the landfill, and less solid waste in the landfill.
- Recycling conserves natural resources, saves energy, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
- More materials diverted from the landfill will increase business for many recyclers, boosting the economy and creating "green jobs."
What actions are being taken to increase curbside recycling opportunities?
- Maintaining the 1-800-RECYCLE database about where to recycle in Washington.
- Providing technical assistance to local governments.