54 per cent landfilled, 33 per cent recycled, 13 per cent energy recovery in 2007
The US EPA's new 2007 Municipal Solid Waste Characterization report shows Americans recycled and composted 85 million tons of the 254 million tons of total municipal solid waste produced last year. Each person produced 4.6 pounds of trash per day, of which 1.5 pounds were recycled or composted. Recycling has increased slightly over 2006, when people recycled and composted around 82 million tons of the 251 million tons of total municipal solid waste produced.
Americans save energy, conserve natural resources, and help reduce climate change every time they reduce, reuse, or recycle. Recycling 85 billion tons of municipal solid waste in 2007 saved the energy equivalent of more than 10.7 billion gallons of gasoline and prevented the greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 35 million passenger vehicles.
Recycling provid! es economic benefits by reducing costs to businesses and creating jobs. The American recycling and reuse industry is a $200 billion dollar enterprise involving more than 50,000 recycling and reuse establishments, employing more than 1 million people, and generating an annual payroll of approximately $37 billion..
The full report incorporating these data tables is produced every other year. The most current edition contains 2007 data:
1. MSW generation, recovery, and disposal from 1960 to 2007
2. Per capita generation and discard rates
3. Source reduction (waste prevention)
4. Materials (eg, paper, glass, metals, plastic) that comprise MSW, as well as products (eg durable and nondurable goods, containers, packaging) found in the waste stream
5. Aggregate data on the infrastructure for MSW management, including estimates of the number of kerbside recycling programmes, composting programmes, and landfills in the US
6. Trends ! in MSW management from 1960 to 2007, including source reduction, recov ery for recycling (including composting), and disposal via combustion and landfilling.
EPA plans to update the full report every two years. The 2007 Municipal Solid Waste Report and several useful side documents are available from the US EPA's website at:
* Municipal Solid Waste Generation, Recycling and Disposal in the United States: Facts and Figures for 2007 (177 pp, 5.8MB)
* Fact Sheet 2007 (PDF) (12 pp, 0.5 MB)
* Methodology for MSW Characterization Numbers (PDF) (12 pp, 0.1 MB)
* Methodology for Estimating MSW Recycling Benefits (PDF) (11 pp, 0.1 MB)
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