10 Facts about Recycling in the United States

I’ve been doing a lot of research about our current recycling and waste services in the United States to see what works and what’s lacking. There is so much misinformation regarding recycling and waste management, and I want to do my part to educate and try to find ways to improve the way we manage waste. It’s a goal of mine to someday have my own upcycling business that focuses on recycling products previous unrecyclable, especially plastic waste. This is what I’ve learned about recycling in the United States:

  1. The recycling rate in the US is currently about 35%. Without proper facilities to process materials, many recyclable items end up in the landfill even when consumers put them in recycling bins.
  2. Nearly 70% of paper products are recycled, but paper products like wrapping paper and gift bags cannot be recycled.
  3. Aluminum can be recycled infinitely, but only about 65% actually gets recycled.
  4. Glass is also infinitely recycled, but due to expenses with transportation, only about 30% gets recycled.
  5. Electronics, or e-waste, is very difficult to recycle, but can be lucrative when the raw materials are processed. Currently about 17% is collected and properly recycled.
  6. Plastic remains one of the least recycled products. Only about 9% is actually processed and recycled and a good solution has not yet been found for this problem.
  7. Textile waste is generated largely by the fashion industry and despite 95% of textiles being recyclable, only about 15% is processed.
  8. Nearly 50% of the food produced in the United States is wasted, and the food that’s thrown away ends up in a landfill despite being compostable.
  9. Other metals, like steel, are recycled at a rate of about 70%.
  10. All in all, there is a lot of potential for recycling in the United States, but with a lack of proper facilities to sort and process the recyclable items, much of it still ends up in the landfill. Hopefully, with time, we can improve recycling services and prioritize waste management.

Published by That Hippie Looking Chick

I'm a traveler, adventurer, upcycler, and bus dweller.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: