The latest Environmental Protection Agency figures show that while attitudes towards recycling may be changing fast, US recycling rates remain largely unchanged, with the overall U.S municipal recycling rate having fallen 0.2% to 34.5% between 2011 and 2012.
This represents a drop of 1 million tons of waste from the 65 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) recycled in 2011. Most waste categories saw no significant change year on year, although there was a notable fall in the recycling of paper products, with Newspaper and mechanical paper recovery seeing a fall in volume of 2.5% over the year.
Recycling of Aluminum fell from 20.7 percent to 19.8 percent; glass recycling remained largely unchanged and is now 0.1% higher than 2011 levels at 27.7%, while PET plastic bottles and jars experienced growth of 1.6%, with recycling now at 30.8 percent.
Overall MSW is up by approximately 1 million tons thanks to an increase in composting volume, which rose to 21 million tons over the course of the year, bringing overall MSW generation to 251 million tons per annum.