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“The State of Recycling in Hampton Roads” Provides Comprehensive Look at Recycling in the Region

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Just Released, “The State of Recycling in Hampton Roads” Provides Comprehensive Look at Recycling in the Region

(Hampton Roads, Nov. 22, 2014) – This month, released a report on “The State of Recycling in Hampton Roads,” a comprehensive look at recycling in the region, from the municipalities that provide curbside recycling for its residents to the businesses that collect, sort and re-sell the recyclables. It is the first time a report of this kind has been published according to the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission (HRPDC), which administers the public awareness and education campaign.

“This report is intended for the region’s elected officials, city government leaders, civic leagues, home associations, environmental groups, the media and anyone with an interest in learning why recycling is good for the region’s economy—and how we can build on the programs we have in place,” said Julia B. Hillegass, public information and community affairs administrator for the HRPDC.

The 18-page report was developed by members of the Recycling & Beautification Committee, a regional committee made up of municipal recycling representatives from the 17 localities in Hampton Roads. The committee’s goal is to promote litter control, recycling, beautification and general environmental awareness through educational projects designed to reach all sectors of the regional community.

“The State of Recycling in Hampton Roads” delves into the region’s history of recycling, types of recycling programs available, jobs associated with the industry, local recycling businesses and profiles of some of the Virginia manufacturers that drive the supply and demand of the raw recycled goods.

A highlight of the report is a point-in-time look at the current recycling picture in Hampton Roads, based on data collected from a 2013 recycling survey. Eleven of the 12 municipalities that participated in the survey reported that residential curbside recycling has been well received, but there are challenges associated with the program, such as residents not knowing what items to place in their recycling container and encouraging non-recyclers to begin recycling.

These findings were affirmed in a 2012 online survey. That survey revealed that while Hampton Roads residents believe they are recycling, actual recycling data from municipalities shows that residents are confused about what is recyclable in Hampton Roads and could be recycling more often.

The report also takes a look at “the next big things” in recycling, such as food scrap recycling; innovative local recycling programs that are expanding what items are acceptable; and zero landfill initiatives, embraced by local companies Canon Virginia, Continental and Huntington Ingalls Industries.

While the region’s recycling industry is ever changing and will continue to evolve, one thing hasn’t changed according to the report—the public’s need for education about recycling. To that end, the report lays out regional goals for the coming years. Among the suggestions: establish Hampton Roads as a regional leader in recycling; foster the growth of the region’s recycling businesses; educate residents about what is and is not recyclable at curbside; and encourage everyone to recycle more and trash less. To view “The State of Recycling in Hampton Roads,” visit

About is your go-to resource for all things green in Hampton Roads— from recycling tips and pointers for keeping local waterways clean to water-saving ideas and simple steps to make local living easy on the environment. Launched in 2011, the region-wide public awareness and education campaign is administered through the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission and powered by the following members: The cities of Chesapeake, Franklin, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Virginia Beach, and Williamsburg; the counties of Gloucester, Isle of Wight, James City, Southampton, Surry and York; and HRSD. Like on facebook, follow on Twitter, tune in to YouTube and catch the “Let’s Talk Green” blog, written by a team of local experts.