Americans are recycling more than ever before according to a new report by the U.S. EPA released today. The U.S. recycled 32 percent of its waste in 2005, or 79 million tons, including composting. Although this number is lower than the 52 percent recycling rate in California, it does mark a two percent increase from 2004 and a double digit increase from the 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.
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