Recycling and Waste Reduction

Overview

Tracking of national municipal solid waste (MSW) generation rates began in 1960. At that time, the average rate was 2.7 lbs. per person per day. The national MSW per capita rate has been steadily increasing over the past decade. In 2010, our per capita MSW rate stood at 3.94. Our most recent data from 2020 shows that this number has increased to 4.73 lbs. per person per day.

Designed to bury trash, not break it down, landfill contents last a long time. When a landfill closes, the site, especially the groundwater, must be monitored and maintained for up to 30 years! In West Virginia, few existing landfill sites are designed to meet the new guidelines for municipal solid waste disposal.

There are several strategies to reduce the amount of MSW that gets disposed of in our state’s landfills. The most environmentally preferred strategy is source reduction or waste prevention. This strategy saves natural resources, conserves energy, reduces pollution, and can lead to cost savings for consumers. The second preferred strategy is recycling and composting. This approach saves energy compared to using raw materials, conserves resources, and reduces the need for new landfills. The third strategy is energy recovery. This strategy consists of the conversion of non-recyclable materials into useable heat, electricity, or fuel through a variety of processes, including combustion, gasification, pyrolization, anaerobic digestion, and landfill gas (LFG) recovery. This process is also known as Waste to Energy or WTE.

Waste Management Hierarchy: Most preferred to least preferred: Source Reduction and Reuse, Recycling/Composting, Energy Recovery, and Treatment and Disposal
Waste Management Hierarchy

Quick Resouces

Recycling Directory

This directory helps West Virginians find commercial and community recycling opportunities near where they live. There also is a section on scrap metal handlers. All directory information is as current as possible. Before delivering recyclable materials to any organization, please call to confirm hours of operation, delivery address and types of materials accepted. This guide is a product of the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection and West Virginia Office of Energy. To report any errors in this directory, please contact the REAP Office at the Department of Environmental Protection at: depreapgrants@wv.gov or call 1-800-322-5530.

Recycling Resources

Covered Electronic Devices Takeback Program

Free Recycling Takeback Program: Covered Electronic Devices, or CEDs, are devices with motion picture display screens measuring 4 inches or more diagonally. Devices that are part of or contained within motor vehicles, household appliances, or commercial, industrial, or medical equipment are excluded from the West Virginia definition of CEDs.

This is a list of CED (covered electronic device) brands that have approved free takeback programs established by the manufacturer. Many of the programs listed offer free label and mail back programs. Search for your brand name for end-of-life recycling of your CED.

Takeback Program Resources

Recycling Coalition of WV, Inc.

November 15th marks the national observation of America Recycles Day. Each year, the Recycling Coalition of WV, Inc., and its partners sponsor the state’s celebration of this annual event. Through educational and promotional activities, statewide school contests and county events, West Virginia Recycles Day has gained pledges from thousands of West Virginians who support recycling.

In addition to contests, incentives, and activities, teachers may access lesson plans and citizens may take the recycling pledge at www.wvrecycles.com.


West Virginia Recycles Day Celebration

November 15th marks the national observation of America Recycles Day. Each year, the REAP Recycling Section and the West Virginia Recycling Coalition cosponsor the state’s celebration of this annual event. Through educational and promotional activities, statewide school contests and county events, West Virginia Recycles Day has gained pledges from thousands of West Virginians who support recycling.

Visit www.wvrecycles.com for programs, events, and contest information.

State Employees Office Paper Recycling Program

State agencies in the Capitol Complex and surrounding areas currently participate in the WV Public Employees Office Paper Recycling Program and are in compliance with Legislative Rule §20-11-6, which states that all agencies and instrumentalities of the state, shall implement programs to recycle solid waste. This program offers recycling of office paper to local state agencies.


Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

The EPA is your federal resource for all things pertaining to the environment. Learn what they do to regulate and reduce wastes while also providing you resources and tips to do the same at your home, office, or school.

Learn More


Find a Recycling Facility Near You

This directory does not constitute an endorsement and is only provided as a public resource. Please call ahead to confirm current information.

Additional Recycling Opportunities

Many stores provide complimentary recycling services to customers. Below is a list of common materials and possible places to recycle them. Be sure to check with the locations to confirm their ability to accept any of the recyclable items listed.

  • Plastic Bags: Your local grocery or department store.
  • Used Motor Oil: Local auto shops or parts stores.
  • Electronics: Your local Staples or Best Buy

Resources


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