CURRY COUNTY AMONG TOP SIX IN STATE FOR RECYCLING EFFORTS

September 11, 2001 11:00 pm

By WILLIAM LUNDQUIST

GOLD BEACH Curry County was among the top six counties in the state for recycling in 2000, and Oregon was among the top six states in the nation.

Oregon recovered 38.9 percent of its solid waste in 2000, up from 36.8 percent in 1999, according to a recent report issued by the Department of Environmental Quality.

Curry County recovered 42 percent in 2000, way up from 27 percent in 1999. That was not only well above the state average, but far above Currys required rate of 15 percent.

Your county should be proud of the efforts your recovery rate represents, said Robert Barrows, manager of the Western region of the Department of Environmental Qualitys Solid Waste Program.

Department officials said the average Oregonian disposed of 1,617 pounds of solid waste in 2000. Of that, 1,028 was recovered.

The average person in Curry County disposed of 1,381 pounds, of which 980 was recovered.

In total, Curry County disposed of 14,644 tons and recovered 10,387 tons. In 1999, Curry disposed of 15,210 tons, but recovered only 5,720.

Lane County topped the list with a 52 percent recovery rate. That knocked last years leader, the Portland metro area, to second place with a 51 percent rate.

Yamhill County was in third place with 48 percent. Rounding out the top six were Marion County at 44 percent and Benton County at 41 percent.

Curry County was the only one in the top six not containing a major Willamette Valley population center.

At the bottom of the list were Lake County, 8 percent, Gilliam and Wheeler counties, 14 percent each, and Morrow County, 15 percent. All are Eastern Oregon counties.

As for Currys neighbors, Coos County recovered 23 percent of its solid waste, Josephine 33 percent and Douglas 32 percent.

The only county that did not meet its required waste recovery rate was Hood River, which posted an 18 percent rate. Its required rate was 25 percent.

Materials surveyed for the recovery rate included paper, food waste, wood waste, yard debris, metals, plastics, glass, used tires, carpets, paint, used motor oil, and some material composted or burned for energy.

This years results are very encouraging, said Mary Sue Gilliland of the Solid Waste Program.

We hope this is an indication that people are making lifestyle changes, she said.

She said a key factor contributing to the decrease in disposal rates could be more effective programs that recover wood waste, yard debris and construction waste.

Also, she said, the recent downturn in construction and development in Oregon could have reduced the generation of solid waste.

A new state law has set state goals of a 45 percent recovery rate for 2005 and a 50 percent rate for 2009.

Reaching the new goals for waste prevention and recovery will require a sustained effort, said Christopher Taylor, manager of the Solid Waste Program.

By far the greatest potential is in the commercial sector, he said, particularly construction and demolition waste.

Recycling rate data for Oregon will be available at the Web site http://www.deq.state.or.us/wmc/ solwaste/rsw.htm late this month.

For information about the 2000 survey results, call Gilliland at (800) 452-4011, extension 5808.