It’s America Recycles Day in Pa. Here’s how you do it, by the numbers | The Numbers Racket
As of 2018, America generated 292.4 million tons of municipal solid waste — or 4.9 pounds per person per day
Do you recycle at home? Any idea how much you recycle? Don’t answer that! We have all the data right here on nationwide recycling trends and trends at the state level, just in time to observe America Recycles Day, and before you ask, yes, that’s a thing.
National Recycling Rates
As of 2018, the total generation of municipal solid waste (MSW) was 292.4 million tons or 4.9 pounds per person per day, an increase of 23.7 million tons from 2017, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Of that 292.4 million, nearly 94 million tons, or 32.1 percent were recycled (69 million tons) or composted (25 million tons).
The EPA further broke down its findings, showing the percentage of waste contributed by each material.
Paper and paperboard … 23.05 percent
Food … 21.59 percent
Plastics … 12.20 percent
Yard Trimmings … 12.11 percent
Metals … 8.76 percent
Wood … 6.19 percent
Textiles … 5.83 percent
Glass … 4.19 percent
Rubber and Leather … 3.13 percent
Other materials … 1.56 percent
Misc. Inorganic wastes … 1.39 percent
Now, let’s look at the percentage rate recycled by material.
Paper and paperboard made up 66.54 percent of all MSW recycled.
Metals made up 12.62 percent of all MSW recycled.
Rubber, Leather and textiles made up 6.05 percent of all MSW recycled.
Wood made up 4.49 percent of all MSW recycled.
Plastics made up 4.47 percent of all MSW recycled.
Glass made up 4.43 percent of all MSW recycled.
Other materials made up 1.40 percent of all MSW recycled.
According to 2018 data from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the Keystone State recycled more than 5.47 million tons of MSW, a decrease from the 6.36 million tons recycled in 2017.
The map below shows 2018 recycling totals by county. How many tons did your county recycle?
Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.