3.0 Recycling Programs and Inititives
3.1 Recycling Contract and Grant Program — Pursuant to NRS 444A.110, the Division has the authority to provide grants and contracts to municipalities, educational institutions and non-profit organizations to enhance solid waste management systems and promote solid waste recycling. Although contracts have been issued in the past, the Division has been unable to fund new grants or contracts since 2006 and does not anticipate being able to do so in the next biennium unless tire sales increase significantly.
3.2 Waste Tire Management and Recycling — Nevada adopted regulations governing the management and transportation of waste tires in 1994. Most landfills in Nevada accept used tires from the public as well as commercial haulers for a fee. Senate Bill 186 passed during the 2009 legislative session and requires counties that issue operating permits to waste tire management facilities to essentially ban waste tire disposal in their counties. Bans help to maximize the diversion of waste tires from landfills to the waste tire management facilities in their jurisdictions. Clark County now has one such permitted facility that is accepting tires for processing.
Waste tires generated in Southern Nevada are being retreaded, crumbed or shredded, with some processed in- and some out-of-state. In Northern Nevada, waste tires not landfilled are exported out-of-state to be retreaded, crumbed, or used as tire-derived fuel. Northeastern Nevada (Elko, Ely and Winnemucca) exports waste tires to Salt Lake City, Utah, for retreading or for use in facilities that use tire-derived fuel. Due to reporting inconsistencies from one company to another, it is difficult to quantify the tonnage of tires recycled, disposed, or exported.
Within the past year, a number of waste tire-recycling energy recovery, and waste tire by-product manufacturers have expressed interest in locating operations in Nevada. Some of the companies are in the initial planning stages, while others have received operating permits to begin energy recovery operations in the near future.
Research into the use of recycled tires as a road paving material continues by the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT). Two Northern Nevada projects using recycled tires as rubberized chip seal material to waterproof aging roads and restore surface friction have shown promise. Asphalt specifications using recycled tires have been developed for roadway rehabilitation projects in Southern Nevada as well. Between 2008 and 2009, NDOT used approximately 134,000 recycled tires in their road-material research projects.
3.3 Recycling Education
Outreach to Schools — The Division has promoted recycling through 4th-12th grade educational presentations throughout the state for many years. In 2007, the Division created a 12-week curriculum in Solid Waste and Recycling. While designed to be fun for students, the curriculum offers educators many additional benefits. It is readily adaptable to school grade levels 4-12. It aligns with the Nevada standard course of study, and meets various science, math, language arts, and social studies objectives through an integrated approach to the subject. The curriculum wraps up with an "action component" that encourages students to apply their newly acquired knowledge to designing, coordinating, and implementing a recycling program at their schools.
In addition to the 12-week Solid Waste &Recycling curriculum, a series of four single-lesson classroom presentations was developed for statewide use. Division staff has given single presentations to K-6th graders in Carson City, Elko and Washoe Counties various outdoor schools such as the Great Basin Outdoor School and the Northern Nevada Outdoor School. The free curriculum is available on-line from nevadarecycles.gov for use in its entirety, as three separate modules, or as single-use lessons.
In 2008, the Clark County School District approved Recycling for a Greener Day: NDEP Solid Waste and Recycling Curriculum as a Professional Development Education (PDE) course. It was offered for the first time in March 2009. The recycling course is offered once a year to Clark County teachers through the PDE program. Division staff is working with other school districts across the State to have this course approved for PDE credit.
3.4 Recycling Outreach
3.4.1 Recycling Hotline — The Division operates a toll-free, Recycling Hotline (1-800- 597-5865) to provide information on local recycling services by county for common materials (glass, plastic, aluminum, e-waste and paper) as well as other more unusual recyclable items (refrigerators, cars, lawn and garden items, etc.). The Hotline receives approximately 50 calls a week. In addition to live information provided by the Hotline, a directory of resources, by county, is posted and regularly updated on the NDEP recycling website, nevadarecycles.gov.
3.4.2 Outreach to Rural Communities — The Division has been actively promoting the importance of recycling to rural communities. As a result, several rural public utility offices are becoming aware and increasingly interested in starting-up or expanding their current recycling programs. The Division staff will continue to actively promote the importance and many benefits of recycling in the rural communities, encouraging partnerships wherever possible.
Three major obstacles continue to hinder progress toward increasing recycling in rural Nevada: 1) the lack of infrastructure for collecting and storing recycled materials, 2) the long travel distances to existing recycling centers, and, 3) the relatively small volume of recyclable materials generated in rural Nevada. To address these challenges, Division staff meets regularly with local government officials and public utilities managers in rural counties to discuss viable recycling options in rural communities. Division staff also conducts research of recycling strategies, community alternatives, and financial options such as developing cooperative partnerships with local businesses and industries to address these challenges.
3.4.3 Community Partnerships and Participation
Single-Stream Recycling — For several years, the Division encouraged municipalities to implement single-stream recycling as their primary collection method. Single-stream refers to collecting all types of recyclable materials into one container. This collection method encourages residents to recycle by making it easier and more convenient to do so. Single-stream collection has been shown to dramatically increase recycling rates to 50% and higher in participating communities around the country.
To date, Clark and Washoe Counties have piloted single-stream recycling programs. In each case, the results showed increased participation and volume of recyclables collected. Discussion continues between the municipalities and their contracted waste haulers regarding the best way to continue services to the community while transitioning from 3-4 bin curbside recycling service to single-stream. In Clark County, over 50,000 homes are currently participating in single-stream recycling programs that have resulted in increased recycling rates ranging from 3% to 20-25%. In 2007, Incline Village (Washoe Co.) converted their curbside recycling service to single-stream and continues to realize substantial increases in collection volume.
E-Waste Diversion Activities — The Division has established several key partnerships with municipal agencies and non-profit organizations to assist in planning, organizing and conducting their e-waste collection events. In 2008 and 2009, collection events were held in Elko, Incline Village, Reno, Winnemucca, Carson City and Las Vegas. These events contributed significantly to the overall diversion of e-waste from our landfills. During this two-year period, municipal recycling data reports indicate over 3,300 tons of e-waste was collected and either reused or recycled.
Introduced during Nevada's 75th Legislative Session, Assembly Bill (AB) 426 proposed creation of a State program to govern e-waste recycling. During the session, the bill was amended to require an interim study of e-waste reuse and recycling programs in Nevada. The study was to include an investigation and evaluation of Nevada's existing infrastructure for reuse and recycling of computers and other electronics, as well as the e-waste recycling infrastructures in use in our neighboring states. The findings of the study are being submitted in a report to the 76th Session of the Nevada Legislature.
Other Community Outreach and Assistance Activities — Division recycling staff participate in many community events (i.e. Earth Day, Nevada Recycles Day, and corporate Green Fairs) and serves as committee members on several recycling-oriented organizations across the state, including Illegal Dumping Task Force, Christmas Tree Recycling and Biomass committees in Northern and Southern Nevada. The Division also provides outreach to the business community through recycling presentations and technical assistance. In October 2008, NDEP Las Vegas staff collaborated with the Southern Nevada PBS Network to develop a TV feature about recycling for broadcast on the "Greener Las Vegas" program.