CalRecycle data shows that people in California recycled less in 2021 compared to 2020

SAN LEANDRO, Calif. (KGO) — CalRecycle released new data Tuesday for America Recycles Day showing that the nationwide recycling rate has fallen as of 2020.

The data estimates that the nationwide recycling rate was 40% in 2021, compared to 42% in 2020.

During CalRecycle’s November public meeting on Tuesday, CalRecycle Director Rachel Machi Waggoner addressed this decline, saying:

“While we wouldn’t like to be there, I see this as an opportunity, a real opportunity for us to look at how we can do more. As the video highlights, Californians are recycling everything from tires to e-waste to our beverage packaging in record numbers, but there’s more for us to do. I want to give a special thank you to the governor and legislature for giving us nearly $800 million over the next few years to make these changes to invest in a circular economy here in California.”

MORE: Recycling is complicated – we can solve it together

America Recycles Day sees more than 2,000 recycling events across the country, attended by more than two million people.

The City of San Leandro on Tuesday allowed residents to properly dispose of items such as medicines, household batteries and even DVDs at the Marina Community Center. Residents had to register in advance.

America Recycles Day is a good reminder to recycle and do it right.

Recycling plastic food containers, Tonya Alves Richardson, Solid Waste & recycling specialist at San Leandro, said they ask their residents to make sure the bins are clean and dry.

“There’s all the tension between, ‘We live in the Bay Area, we’re having a drought,'” Richardson said. “‘How much cleaning are we going to do of our containers?’ So we’re trying to get the message across…a quick rinse of a jar or other type of container that you’re going to put in your recycling, but it’s important that it’s dry so it doesn’t contaminate the other materials in the recycling bin. “

VIDEO: Recyclable plastic ends up in landfills

California has taken some measures to encourage recycling.

CalRecycle said new laws require all packaging to be recyclable or compostable by 2032, with 65% of it to be recycled by 2032.

ACTION: Get help with recycling, trash, composting

A list from the Environmental Protection Agency on how to recycle properly.

A list from the Environmental Protection Agency on how to recycle properly.

Here are a few recycling tips from the EPA:

  • Flatten boxes before throwing them in the bin
  • You can recycle mail, even envelopes with plastic windows
  • Broken glass does not belong in the recycling bin
  • Aluminum cans should not be crushed before recycling
  • Keep in mind that some jurisdictions handle recycling a little differently, so check with the recycling officers where you live.

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