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.
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. Recycling rates in the years since have remained relatively static the past three years.
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.
More than 657,000 tons of municipal solid waste was recycled in 2019. However, MSW generated increased increased from 3.29 million tons to 3.33 million tons during the same period
By weight, metal and organics are the three most recycled materials, accounting for more 90 percent of recycled MSW (see chart at 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.