Re: state wasting rates
Tue, 27 Jul 1999 17:55:39 EDT

July 27, 1999

Hi Brenda,

WA state's recycling rate fell back from 39% in 1996 to 31% in 1997 (latest
year for which statewide data has been compiled by WA Dept. of Ecology).
Most of decrease was in non-residential recycling, but there is considerable
question about the accuracy of either number, let alone which type generator
fell off in recycling.

DOE bases the estimate on a survey of all recyclers. The survey includes
questions designed to allow for elimination of double counting of materials
sold by one recycler to another recycler. However, No particular attempt is
made to adjust for non-reporter bias or even to adjust for non-reporters at
all. I.e., whoever reports becomes the de facto "population" for that year.
Thus a large recycler or a group of moderate size recyclers responding one
year and not responding the next year could cause a substantial fall in DOE's
recycling rate estimate. As yet, no determination has been made that I have
seen as to whether the 1997 fall is real, due to sampling error, or both.

At any rate, even given the considerable likelihood of error in the DOE
estimate, it is unlikely that WA's recycling rate actually increased from
1996 to 1997. It probably did fall by some amount.

Hope this helps and that you are well!

Dr. Jeffrey Morris
Sound Resource Management
Seattle, WA 98119

Visit Sound Resource Management's website at <> for
downloadable research reports and The Monthly UnEconomist newsletter,
covering current research on the environmental benefits and everyday
economics of recycling. Also downloadable recycling market price history
(five to ten years, updated at least bimonthly) and forecast charts and
tables for mixed paper, newspaper, cardboard, glass, aluminum cans, steel
cans, PET bottles and HDPE bottles for the Northwest and Northeast, as well
as comparisons of historical prices for recycled versus virgin materials. Low
annual subscription fee of $19.50 gives you password access to this important
and regularly updated information on recycling.