National recycling rate stays flat

National recycling rate stays flat

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Feb. 28, 2014

Figures released today by the Environmental Protection Agency show the U.S. municipal recycling rate was 34.5 percent in 2012, a fall of 0.2 percentage points from the 2011 level.

The agency's municipal solid waste (MSW) report indicates Americans recovered around 65 million tons of MSW via recycling in 2012, a drop of roughly 1 million tons year-over-year. Composting volumes, meanwhile, grew from 20 million tons in 2011 to 21 million tons in 2012. Overall MSW generation in 2012 was about 251 million tons, up roughly 1 million tons from the previous year.

Most materials saw recovery rates remain flat from 2011 to 2012, though the paper category did see a notable drop. Newspaper and mechanical paper recovery decreased from 72.5 percent to 70.0 percent in the timeframe.

Aluminum's recycling rate also saw a decrease, dropping from 20.7 percent to 19.8 percent.

PET plastic bottles and jars, meanwhile, experienced a recycling rate bump of 1.6 percentage points from 2011 to 2012, and the national recycling rate for that category is now 30.8 percent.

The recycling rate for glass was 27.7 percent, up from 27.6 percent in 2011.

Look for expanded analysis of the EPA recycling figures in next week's Resource Recycling e-newsletter.

Recycling Innovators Banner

 

.

.