Read the full story in WasteDive.
The EPA reported a slight increase in the national recycling rate — up to 34.7% from 34.6% — based on 2015 data in the latest Advancing Sustainable Materials Management report. The agency estimates that out of the 262 million tons of MSW generated, 52.5% went to landfills, 25.8% was recycled, 12.8% was combusted via WTE facilities and 8.9% was composted.
Based on percentage of generation, lead-acid batteries, corrugated boxes, steel cans and newspapers had the highest recycling rates. The report also noted a small uptick in yard waste and food composting (not including backyard operations) and a decrease in the weight of consumer electronics recycled.
Multiple prior iterations of this report cited the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and “toxic chemicals” as well as the fact that recycling “conserves resources for future generations” as benefits. Those mentions were all missing from the 2015 report. A new section on job creation and tax revenue was included.