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US recycling rate drops 0.2%

U.S. residents generated 251 million tonnes of trash in 2012, and recycled 87 million tonnes of it, a new report from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states. 


U.S. residents generated 251 million tonnes of trash in 2012, and recycled 87 million tonnes of it, a new report from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states. 

The EPA’s municipal solid waste report indicates that the national recycling rate dropped ever so slightly from 34.7 per cent in 2011 to 34.5 per cent in 2011. 

On average, each American recycled and composted 1.51 pounds of individual waste out of a typical 4.38 pounds of waste per person each day.

“The transition is well under way, with the U.S. economy continuing to provide goods and services for household consumption more efficiently when looking at the MSW generated from consuming those goods and services,” the EPA states in the new report. 

According to Sharon Kneiss, president and CEO of the National Waste & Recycling Association,“Part of the dip in recycling can be attributed to our evolving waste stream,” Kneiss said. “We’re generating less printed material—newspapers, office paper or magazines—as we shift to a digital world.” 

Added Kneiss: “Meanwhile, packaging recycling has continued to climb—more than half of all packaging is now recycled—and this packaging is getting lighter and greener as manufacturers seek to minimize their environmental footprint,” she said. “But the bottom line is that the public can help increase the recycling rate by getting the right materials in the bin in the first place. It begins with the bin.”

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