Calif. data marred by illegal entries?

Nov 23, 2009 | 11:41 AM | Paul Schaffer

California's recycling figures for aluminum cans and plastic bottles look good, except for the footnote—one that could shrink reported gains.

Faced with a 116-percent recycling rate for high-density polyethylene (HDPE) bottles, the state Conservation Department is worried about the extent to which out-of-state containers are illegally entering the system, and if this in turn has affected other materials.

Figures for the first six months of 2009 put recycling of all returnable beverage containers at 85 percent, up from 76 percent a year earlier. For aluminum, the recycling rate is said to be 91 percent, up from 85 percent. The gains are even steeper compared with the second half of 2008, but seasonal factors nearly always show July-to-December figures weaker than those of the first half.....

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