May 17, 2019

US Recycling Statistics

US recycling rate is low. Figures from the Environmental Protection Agency show that America recycles about 34.7 percent of the garbage it produces. The world's top recyclers, Germany, Austria, Wales, and South Korea report a rate between 52 and 56 percent.)
Until 2018, China took 40 percent of the US recycled paper, plastic, and metal, but in January of that year, China imposed strict new rules on the levels of contamination. Because of that, and a lack of suitable destinations closer to home, many cities have been forced to incinerate or stockpile recyclables until they can find a better solution.

The nation recycles less than 10 percent of its plastic, compared to 67 percent for paper materials, 34 percent for metals, and 26 percent for glass. China's restrictions have especially affected plastic. Exports of scrap plastic to China were valued at more than $300 million in 2015; they amounted to $7.6 million in the first quarter of 2018, down 90 percent from the year before.

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