City Asks to Keep Recycling Goal Same

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The Hermiston City Council is hoping that the State of Oregon leaves Umatilla County’s recycling goal alone when it proposes a statewide increase in the 2015 legislature.  The council approved a resolution Monday night asking the Umatilla County Commissioners to recommend leaving the county’s goal at 20%.


The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality will be supporting legislation in the 2015 legislature to increase the statewide goal for recycling from 50% of the waste stream to 55%.  To reach that goal, DEQ has begun asking individual wastesheds, which roughly equate to individual counties, to look at also increasing their goals.  DEQ met with representatives of the various cities in Umatilla County on July 30th and stated that the recycling goal which is recommended by each county is what DEQ will put into its legislative proposal for wasteshed goals.


Umatilla County’s current recycling goal is 20% of the waste stream, and the county-wide recycling rate for 2012 was 31.7%.  However, Umatilla County’s total recycling rate is highly susceptible to swings in commodity prices because it has a relatively smaller and less diverse waste stream than larger wastesheds like the Portland area.  Between 2008 and 2012, Umatilla County’s recycling rate has varied widely from as low as 29%, to as high as 38%, because of this susceptibility to changes in commodity prices.


Hermiston’s request to keep the County’s recycling goal at 20% will now go to the Umatilla County Solid Waste Advisory Committee, and the Umatilla County Commissioners for recommendation to DEQ.


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