What's the Big Deal about Waste?
When the garbage truck picks up our waste, it goes to a landfill. It probably ends up in the country's largest landfill, which is located right in Clark County!
The transport and the breakdown of waste in a landfill produce greenhouse gases and other pollutants that are harmful to our health. Throwing things away also means that valuable natural resources have to be used to make new products. That's why reducing, reusing, and recycling are so important for the Clark County community and environment.
Avoiding Waste in the First Place
It's not enough just to recycle the materials we use; by avoiding unnecessary waste in the first place, we can save money, energy, and resources.
There are lots of creative ways that we do this in the County, including donating clothes or food before they are thrown away, and being more thoughtful about buying products with less packaging.
For example, nonprofit Opportunity Village has a Thrift Shop, where community members can donate and buy gently used clothes. Unusable clothes and fabrics are then recycled, rather than sent to the landfill.
Reducing Plastic Waste
Did you know that it take approximately 450 years for a plastic water bottle to decompose in a landfill?!
One way to avoid waste is to make it easier for individuals to reuse what they already have. A great example of this is reusable water bottle filling stations. Clark County installed 37 water bottle filling stations all around its facilities and plans to install 11 more. These stations provide cold, crisp filtered water and encourage employees to bring reusable bottles, thereby reducing the County’s reliance on single-use plastic bottles.
Food Waste Prevention at MGM Resorts
One example of how large-scale waste reduction is already being achieved locally is through the efforts at MGM Resorts. Through a partnership with Three Square Food Bank in Las Vegas, MGM Resorts minimizes its food waste while supporting the community. MGM flash freezes leftover food from its events to get it safely to community members in need.
Since 2016, MGM Resorts has donated 1.5 million meals!
Progress Toward Our Goals
Clark County has set ambitious goals to encourage more reuse and less disposal. Clark County's diversion rate, or the amount of recycled material as a percent of total waste, has grown from 8% in 2008 (navy), to 20% in 2019 (green).
With targets for a 30% diversion rate by 2030 (yellow) and a 90% diversion rate by 2050 (blue), Clark County is going above and beyond the statewide annual recycling goal of 25%.
Progress Toward Our Goals
Clark County's diversion rate, or the amount of recycled material as a percent of total waste, grew from 8% in 2008, to 20% in 2019. With targets for a 30% diversion rate by 2030 and a 90% diversion rate by 2050, Clark County is going above and beyond the statewide recycling goal of 25%.
To reach its 2050 goal, the County will work hard to build on the progress it has made, expanding its existing reuse and recycling programs. Toggle between the years 2019 and 2050 on the chart below to visualize what it will take to get to near-zero waste!
Diversion Rate = 20%
Trash Rate = 80%
What Does the County Recycle?
Recycling doesn't mean just one thing! Every material that gets recycled must be separated out and processed differently, before it can be given new life in a different form. Some of the materials Clark County recycles from its facilities include:
- Brass (from the County shooting range)
- Landscaping waste
- Electronic waste, like cell phones, computers, and laptops
Opportunities for Recycling
To ensure that recycling provides multiple benefits for the community and the environment, Clark County partners with Opportunity Village, which provides paper recycling and shredding services throughout County facilities. Opportunity Village is a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering adults with disabilities through services such as vocational training, advocacy, and arts and social recreation. Clark County has partnered with Opportunity Village since 2009.
Are You All-In?
Waste Reduction and Recycling Opportunities
There are lots of ways to reduce the waste that you produce and dispose of what you do throw out responsibly. Learn more!