Figures released by the Environmental Protection Agency show the U.S. municipal recycling rate was flat in 2012, at 34.5%.
Every year, the US EPA release a report showing the nation's waste generation and recycling. In 2012, Americans generated about 251 million tons of trash and recycled and composted almost 87 million tons of this material, equivalent to a 34.5% recycling rate. This is about 300,000 tons less than in 2011.
On average, Americans recycled and composted 1.51 pounds out of 4.38 pounds of waste generated per person per day.
Californians have been doing a better job of recycling than the nation. We are currently recycling about 50% of the material we generate and the state has an ambitious target of 75% source reduction, composting and recycling goal by 2020.
CAW is working to help increase composting and recycling in CA. Here's what we have going this year:
- Composting - Despite California's robust recycling infrastructure for traditional recyclables, the state continues to landfill organic materials, such as yard trimmings and food scraps, at a high rate. Food is the most prevalent item in our waste stream and a third of the material going to landfills is readily compostable. AB 1594 (Williams) and AB 1826 (Chesbro) will help reduce the amount of organic materials being sent to the landfill and reduce incentives for landfilling organics.
- Phase out of Plastic Bag - Single-use plastic grocery bags are among the most commonly found items on coastal clean up days and plastic bag pollution costs between $33 to $103 million each year in cleanups. SB 270 (Padilla, de León, and Lara) is aimed at phasing out plastic bags, and moving consumers to bringing their reusable bags. Send a Support Letter.
- Market Development for Recycling - AB 1021 and AB 1022 by Assembly Member Eggman supports green jobs and recycling by incentivizing in-state processing of materials collected in California.