Washington, DC/ USA — According to the latest „Advancing Sustainable Materials Management: Facts and Figures 2013“ report, Americans generated about 254 million tons (U.S. short tons unless specified) of trash and recycled in 2013 and composted over 87 million tons of this material, equivalent to a 34.3 percent recycling rate. On average, Americans recycled and composted 1.51 pounds out of individual waste generation rate of 4.40 pounds per person per day.
As the report shows, Americans recovered over 64.7 million tons of MSW in 2013 through recycling, and over 22 million tons through composting. Americans combusted about 32.7 million tons (about 13 percent) for energy recovery. Subtracting out what is recycled and composted, North America combusted with energy recovery or discarded in landfills 2.89 pounds per person per day of MSW.
In 2013, the rate of lead-acid battery recovery was about 99 percent (2.85 million tons). The rate of newspapers/mechanical papers recovery was about 67 percent (5.4 million tons), and over 60 percent (20.6 million tons) of yard trimmings were recovered. About 134.3 million tons of MSW (52.8 percent) were discarded in landfills in 2013.
Three materials whose recycling rates rose from 2012 to 2013 are yard trimmings, selected consumer electronics and food. In 2013, the rate of yard trimmings composting was 60.2 percent (20.60 million tons), up from 57.7 percent (19.59 million tons). In 2013, the rate of selected consumer electronics recovery was 40.4 percent (1.27 million tons) up from 30.6 percent in 2012 (1.00 million tons). In 2013, the rate of food recovery was 5.0 percent (1.84 million tons), up from 4.8 percent in 2012 (1.74 million tons). Over the last few years, EPA has been heavily invested in these areas.
The fact sheet of previously named „Municipal Solid Waste Generation, Recycling, and Disposal in the United States: Facts and Figures“ can be downloaded from epa.gov (1), the full report under epa.gov (2).
Source: US Environment Protection Agency