Chart: Recycling Is Way, Way Up in California

Last year 82 percent of bottles and cans sold in California were recycled. That's the highest level since 1992. Recycle Rex would be proud.

Anyone remember Recycle Rex?

Anyway, recycling rates are way up in California. Here's the chart:

The Mercury Newsexplains:

As California's economy has worsened, the state's recycling rates have soared, with more people than ever cashing in beverage containers instead of throwing them in the trash or leaving them at the curb. Last year, 82 percent of the aluminum cans, glass bottles and plastic bottles sold in California were recycled, up from 74 percent in 2008 and 55 percent in 2003, according to state statistics. That's the highest rate since 1992, when 82 percent were recycled amid another recession.

Another factor driving this increase in recycling is the change in the redemption rate from 4 cents to a nickel. And the benefit, along with less virgin material used, is extra space in the state's landfills. Ten years ago, the estimate was that the landfills had a combined life of 35 years left. With current recycling rates, that estimate is up to 45 years.