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Statewide recycling rates drop; new program to reduce toxic mercury in landfills

Recycling rates in Washington dropped slightly last year, the state Department of Ecology reports.

The state is still above the national average at 49 percent of residents. It’s just a 1 percent drop between 2012 and 2013, but that’s equal to 105,000 tons of recyclables.

People in Washington are still recycling about three-and-a-half pounds per person, per day, but the department wants to bring the rate back up to more than 50 percent.

Now, the state is trying to make it easier to recycle fluorescent lights. People can recycle as many as 10 fluorescent and mercury-containing light bulbs at 130 free collection sites around the state.

Funded by a $.25 retail charge on new bulbs, the new recycling program aims to reduce the amount of toxic mercury in landfills.

Find a collection site at