EPA: National recycling rate 35% in 2017, composting at record high

Read the full story in Waste Dive.

The U.S. EPA reported a slight increase in the national recycling rate, from 34.6% in 2015 to 35.2% in 2017, in a newly released edition of the Advancing Sustainable Materials Management report. Overall MSW generation increased from 262.1 million tons to 267.8 million tons during that same period, while per capita generation held steady around 4.51 pounds daily.

Among the more notable shifts, the volume of material composted (excluding backyard composting) reached a record high of 27 million tons in 2017 – up from 23.4 million tons in 2015. Yard trimmings comprised the vast majority of this increased activity and overall volume.

Products with the highest recycling rates in 2017 included lead-acid batteries (99.1%), corrugated boxes (88.4%), steel cans (70.9%), newspapers/mechanical papers (76.8%), major appliances (60.3%), aluminum cans (49.2%), mixed paper (48.3%), tires (39.9%) and certain consumer electronics (35.9%).

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