Tillamook County Board of Commissioners on Wednesday, Nov. 10, proclaimed Monday, Nov. 15, America Recycles Day and the week of Nov. 14-20 as Recycling Awareness Week in Tillamook County.
David McCall, program manager of the solid waste department, said this is a proclamation that has been made in the past multiple times. The proclamation was not made last year due to COVID-19.
“COVID is still hindering us but I felt it was important to bring this back and try to reach out to the community and encourage everyone to do their best in recycling,” McCall said.
The resolution states the United States generated more than 292 million tons of municipal solid waste in 2018 and recycled and composed nearly 94 million tons. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the national recycling rate dropped to 32 percent in 2018. Also, the amount of waste generated has increased.
In 2020, EPA announced the overall national recycling goal of increasing the U.S. recycling rate to 50 percent by 2030, the resolution states. This could result in an additional 58,500 jobs nationwide.
During 2019, the most recent year for which data is available, Oregonians recovered 42 percent of the 5.7 million tons of municipal solid waste generated. The average per-capita municipal solid waste generated in Oregon equates to 2,703 pounds per person, while in Tillamook County it was 2,991 pounds, the data states.
“When we look at how many pounds per person per-capita we recycle in Tillamook County, that has increased by, I believe, 9 percent over the past 10 years,” McCall said. “The problem is the quantity of trash that we generate has increased by 33 percent over the past 10 years, almost 26 percent over the past five years.”
McCall said the data for the proclamation is from 2019, pre-COVID-19. During COVID-19, the amount of trash received has increased.
“We generated a lot more trash during COVID but those numbers are not yet reflected in the proclamation’s data,” McCall said. “It takes a while to put the data together and generate it.”
McCall said the majority of people working in recycling are also doing the trash. If the county could increase its recycling numbers, that could create more jobs.