The U.S. experienced a rapid surge in its recycling rate as capacity increased with the growth of curbside recycling programs and construction of materials recovery facilities in the late 1980s to mid-1990s.

However, the last several years have seen the increases in recycling rate level off and stagnate in a development that parallels recent commodity pricing.

While rising commodity prices will to some degree help drive increased recycling, the trends underscore the need to overcome barriers in areas such as access and resident participation.

Note: Commodity revenue numbers represent average prices for typical curbside recyclables receiving by processing facilities in the Pacific Northwest.

Data Corner is compiled monthly by recycling consultancy RRS. Visit to learn more.

This article originally appeared in the May 2017 issue of Resource Recycling. Subscribe today for access to all print content.