3/4 of US Recycling Ends Up in Landfill, Says Report

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by KnowESG
KnowESG_Three-quarters of US Recycling Ends Up in Landfill, Says Report
Image courtesy of WBFF

A recent report indicates that Americans are only recycling a small portion of the materials that could be recycled from their household waste.

The study, conducted by the non-profit organisation The Recycling Partnership, reveals that 21 per cent of items like paper, cardboard, and milk cartons from residential areas are being recycled. Shockingly, 76 per cent of these recyclables are being thrown into the trash at the household level.

The Recycling Partnership had previously released a similar report last year, pinpointing the main reasons behind Americans' low recycling rates as limited access to local recycling programmes and a lack of confidence in recycling effectiveness.

In the 2024 report, the organisation found that recycling rates differ by state, depending on whether households had access to a recycling service—either through curbside pickup or drop-off points.

Utah leads the way with a 70 per cent recycling programme participation rate, according to the report. Nevada, Colorado, and Arizona also boast relatively high participation rates, hovering around 68 per cent.

Nationally, the report found that 43 per cent of households participate in recycling. However, having high participation rates doesn't guarantee that a state's programmes are effectively collecting the most recyclable materials, given the diverse standards of the over 9,000 recycling programmes across the U.S.

The report stresses the importance of participation in improving recycling numbers, noting that many households don't fully utilise available recycling services. It points out that only 59 per cent of households with access to recycling actually use the service, stressing that, in an effective system, at least 90 per cent of households should participate.

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Source: The Hill


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