Monday, October 23, 2006

U.S. Recycling Rate Climbs To 32%; Generation Down

Oct 23: According to a new report from U.S. EPA, Americans are recycling more and throwing away less. Administrator Stephen Johnson, speaking at the National Recycling Coalition Conference in Atlanta, said that the U.S. recycled 32 percent of its waste in 2005. Including composting, Americans recycled 79 million tons, representing a 2 percent increase from 2004 and a huge jump from 16 percent in 1990. In all, Americans generated nearly 246 million tons of municipal solid waste in 2005 – a decrease of nearly 2 million tons from 2004. The decrease is due in part to the decline in individual waste generation to about 4.5 pounds per person per day, representing a 1.5 percent decrease from 2004. In addition to generating less waste, individuals recycled nearly 1.5 pounds per person per day.

Other data contained in the report show recycling trends across the board are generally up: container and packaging recycling increased to 40 percent; nearly 62 percent of yard waste was composted; and about 42 million tons of paper were recycled -- a 50 percent recycling rate. EPA has collected and reported on data going back to 1960 on the generation and disposal of waste in the United States. The information is used to measure the success of municipal solid waste reduction and recycling programs across the country. The data also shows where the nation needs to make improvements in municipal waste management. EPA is releasing the executive summary now, until the full report and data tables are available. EPA plans to update the full report every two years.

Access a release (click here). Access an Executive Summary of the report and links to previous reports (click here). Access a basic overview of 2005 Municipal Solid Waste Fact and Figures (click here). [*Solid, *P2]