A state data report shows resorts on the Las Vegas Strip are ahead of the game on recycling, but that most of Clark County lags behind national recycling rates.
“It’s an interesting issue in Nevada,” Levi Kamolnick, director of the environmental advocacy group Environment Nevada, told the Las Vegas Sun. “We obviously have these massive landfills, which according to one report I read, won’t be filled up until hundreds of years from now. So I think with the cost there, it’s hard to see that as a priority for our elected officials.”
Last year, roughly 20 percent of waste from Clark County was recycled, which is far less than the national recycling rate of 35 percent, according to the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection’s 2019 Waste and Reduction Report.
Statewide, the recycling rate has not gone above 21 percent since 2003, despite efforts to reach 25 percent.
“I really would like it if this issue could be more on the frontline, so to speak,” Kalmonick added.
Without state or municipal programs that require recycling, the odds of increasing recycling appear slim, said Brian Northam, environmental health supervisor for the Southern Nevada Health District.
Sen. Melanie Scheible, D-Las Vegas, introduced a proposal in the 2019 legislative session for a monetary incentive to recycle glass, metal and plastic bottles, but it never came to a vote.
Such proposals have been known to improve recycling, but Clark County’s recycling rate is calculated based on how much waste goes to recycling facilities – not what items are put recycling bins.