QUEST: Recycling in America

Series produced by KQED

Caption: Aluminum cans await recycling., Credit: Kate Szrom/QUEST
Image by: Kate Szrom/QUEST 
Aluminum cans await recycling. 

Once the hobby of a small number of environmentalists, recycling is now a multi-billion dollar industry. Here is a look at how changing economic times affect four states' efforts to deal with waste.

Recycling in America is a four-part QUEST series, reported from four public radio stations: KQED in San Francisco, WHYY in Philadelphia, NET in Nebraska, and WPR in Wisconsin. These enterprising, sound-rich stories will play well as a series or as individual pieces, in any national market.

**ALSO AVAILABLE: Web extras! Contact KQED's Mike Khan to find out how to embed a related video and slide show, free of charge, on your site. mkahn@kqed.org.***


PART 1 (KQED): Boom Times For The Recycling Industry
Here's one silver lining to a slow economy: High recycling rates. Americans are wasting far less, and recycling far more. Nowhere is the trend as strong as in California. As Amy Standen reports, this change is sending ripple effects throughout the economy.

PART 2 (WHYY): Revisiting Mandatory Recycling
Until very recently Philadelphians recycled a dismal five-percent of their trash. But all that began to change a few years ago when the city stepped up its mandatory recycling program and cracked down on violators.

PART 3 (NET): Bioplastic Boom
Companies like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Heinz ketchup have determined that plastic made from plants — not oil — makes sense both for the environment and for business. The growing demand has meant a boom in the bioplastic industry. Could this mean the end of the plastic bottle as we know it?

PART 4 (WPR): E-Waste Programs Reach Milestone
Every year, only 18-percent of all American electronic waste is recycled, according to the EPA. Hoping to cut down on the growing mountain of high-tech trash, two dozen states have passed laws that require the electronics industry to pay to set up recycling programs. But navigating this patchwork of legislation has been a challenge.

These stations are part of a groundbreaking KQED QUEST pilot project that is producing science and environment stories for radio, television, and the web, including the creation of educational materials aligned with state science standards. Learn more about QUEST and all six participating stations here: http://science.kqed.org/quest/stations/ Hide full description

Recycling in America is a four-part QUEST series, reported from four public radio stations: KQED in San Francisco, WHYY in Philadelphia, NET in Nebraska, and WPR in Wisconsin. These enterprising, sound-rich stories will play well as a series or as individual pieces, in any national market.

**ALSO AVAILABLE: Web extras! Contact KQED's Mike Khan to find out how to embed a related video and slide show, free of charge, on your site. mkahn@kqed.org.***


PART 1 (KQED): Boom Times For The Recycling Industry
Here's one silver lining to a slow economy: High recycling rates. Americans are wasting far less, and recycling far more. Nowhere is the trend as strong as in California. As Amy Standen reports, this change is sending ripple effects throughout the economy. PART 2 (WHYY):... Show full description


4 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
Caption: E-waste circuit boards, Credit: QUEST
Every year, Americans throw away more than 300 million outdated lap tops, cell phones, printers, broken computer monitors and old television sets. ...

Bought by KSRQ, WAMC, and WTIP


  • Added: Aug 04, 2011
  • Length: 03:46
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: Bioplastic packaging, Credit: QUEST
Companies like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Heinz ketchup have determined that plastic made from plants — not oil — makes sense both for the environment a...

Bought by Kansas Public Radio, WAMC, and WTIP


  • Added: Aug 04, 2011
  • Length: 04:40
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: City recycling worker, Credit: QUEST
Until very recently Philadelphians recycled a dismal five-percent of their trash. But all that began to change a few years ago when the city steppe...

Bought by WAMC and WTIP


  • Added: Aug 04, 2011
  • Length: 04:21
  • Purchases: 2
Piece image
Here's one silver lining to a slow economy: High recycling rates. Americans are wasting far less, and recycling far more. Nowhere is the trend as s...

Bought by KZYX, WRVO Public Media, WTIP, and WAMC


  • Added: Aug 04, 2011
  • Length: 04:54
  • Purchases: 4