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Upturn in US household waste recycling

United States – Although the total amount of municipal solid waste generated by Americans has fallen over recent years owing to the difficult economic times, recycling has climbed by 5%, according to latest figures from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

An EPA report entitled ‘Municipal Solid Waste in the United States: Facts and Figures’ reveals that 66 million tonnes of waste was recovered for recycling in 2011, the most recent year for which EPA statistics are available. That is an increase of more than 1 million tonnes when compared with 2010 and a jump of 3 million tonnes from 2007 levels. Overall, Americans produced 250 million tonnes of municipal solid waste in 2011 – down 6.5 million tonnes from 2007.

According to the EPA report, paper and paperboard continued to be the most recycled material within the US household waste stream at almost 46 million tonnes. Metals came next on 7.5 million tonnes. There was also 31 million tonnes of plastics in the municipal solid waste stream in 2011, of which more than 8% was recovered for recycling, EPA states.

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