MADISON (News Release) - Recent collection numbers compiled by the Department of Natural Resources are showing that Wisconsinites support recycling all year long. The information, available by searching "recycling studies" at dnr.wi.gov, showed Wisconsin's 2013 residential and commercial recycling efforts recovered about 831,000 tons of used paper products and food and beverage containers for use in manufacturing. That's a 79,000 ton increase over 2012 figures.
"The average Wisconsin household returned 702 pounds of paper and containers back into the economy through recycling at home, at work and while out and about. That's about the same weight as a grand piano," said Brad Wolbert, DNR Recycling and Solid Waste Section chief.
Wolbert added that recycling tonnages have held steady and even increased over the past five years in Wisconsin, despite the continued development of lighter food and beverage packaging as well as the increasing shift toward online publishing.
Every year, local governments send reports to the DNR with data on the amount of recyclable paper and container products recycled by their residents. Facilities that process these materials for recycling provide similar reports, and include information from commercial collections.
The DNR combines the data in these reports to determine how much material was captured for recycling each year, target technical assistance to local communities and respond to information requests from citizens, businesses and public officials.
"Wisconsinites are strongly committed to recycling," said Wolbert. "In a recent statewide survey, 96 percent of respondents identified themselves as having some level of commitment to recycling."
Wolbert also noted that, on average, Wisconsinites recycle far more discarded paper and containers than state law requires. Counting other recycled items such as electronics, tires, appliances and used oil alongside recycled paper products and containers, Wisconsin recovers 242 pounds of recyclable material per person.
State recycling experts point to two important conveniences that generally lead to higher recycling participation and collection rates. "First, almost 58 percent of the population now has access to 'single stream' recycling collection," said Wolbert. "This is where all recyclables are collected in a single bin and later sorted into different commodity types at a processing center."
Second, Wolbert said, nearly 70 percent of the population has access to curbside collection. Communities with greater than 5,000 residents are required under state law to provide curbside collection, and many smaller communities also offer curbside collection as a service to their residents.
"Recycling keeps useful materials out of landfills and incinerators, and returns them instead to the manufacturing sector where they can be turned into products and save producers money on raw materials," said Wolbert.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Brad Wolbert, DNR, 608-264-6286, Brad.Wolbert@wisconsin.gov