Recycling is linked to improving environmental sustainability. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency identified recycling as its second choice of treatment, after source reduction, in its preferred order for environmentally sound management of municipal solid waste.

Click "Change Filter" in the above chart to view recycling rates prior to 2012

Local recycling rates remain below state-established goal  

In 1991, the Nevada legislature set a goal to recycle 25 percent of all municipal solid waste (MSW) for counties with populations over 100,000. Clark County achieved the 25 percent goal for the first time in 2012, but has failed to reach it again since. The region's recycling rate has increased each of the past two years after hitting a decade-low rate in 2015. The 19.9 percent recycling rate achieved in 2017 represents an 8.21 percent (or 1.51 percentage point) increase from 2016.

The decrease in Clark County’s rate since 2013 can be partially attributed to a fire at the local composting facility, A1 Organics, according to the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP). In the years following the fire, materials that had composted by A1 Organics were sent to a landfill, reducing the Clark County recycling rate, according to an NDEP report. Although A1 Organics was replaced with a different composting facility, the new facility's more stringent practices limit its intake.

Nearly 623,000 tons of municipal solid waste was recycled in 2017, up more than 110,000 tons from 2016. However, MSW generated increased from 2.8 million tons in 2016 to 3.1 million tons in 2017.

By weight, metal and paper are the two most recycled materials, consistently accounting for more than three-quarters of recycled MSW (see chart at right). Recycling of glass, paper, and plastics has increased since 2017 due to the implementation of single-stream collection in some municipalities, according to NDEP.

* Other = Plastic, textiles, special waste
Special waste includes items such as: Paint, oil, batteries, tires, and fluorescent bulbs

Click "Change Filter" in the chart above to view recycling by material prior 2012.

About the data

Recycling rates in Nevada are calculated from data provided annually by recycling centers and waste haulers to their respective municipalities, who in turn compile that data into reports submitted to the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP). Health districts in Nevada are required to complete a recycling survey and report the findings to NDEP by April 1. The recycling rates reported are incorporated into NDEP’s annual statewide recycling reports.

In Nevada, each recycling center permitted by the health district must submit a recycling report by February 15 for the previous year. For other companies carrying out recycling activities, reporting is strictly voluntary. Despite best efforts, not all recycled material gets reported. 

The NDEP recycling reports provide an indication of the volumes and types of materials being recycled in a given year. Changes in these numbers over time are an indication of market changes, new businesses opening, and businesses that have either closed or have been sold to other interests. The Clark County Recycling Reports, produced annually by the Southern Nevada Health District, can he found here.

Recycling rates are calculated by dividing the total amount of municipal solid waste (MSW) recycled by the total amount of MSW generated.  Measuring the recycling rate provides an opportunity to determine the effectiveness of various recycling programs and to showcase the efforts of the residents and businesses in Clark County.

To learn more about recycling in Southern Nevada or for additional information on the data presented above, contact Southern Nevada Strong.

Last updated: December 2018