What happens after my recycling is picked up?

According to the EPA’s Advancing Sustainable Materials Management: Facts and Figures report which tracks the amount of trash and recycling throughout the United States, there were 254 tons of trash in 2013.  Of this 254 tons, 87 million tons (34.3%) were either recycled or composted.  For a comparison, the amount of recycled content in 1980 was 15 million tons.  Numbers closer to home would make this individually 1.51 pounds of recycled/composted material to an average 4.40 pounds of trash per day.

Further statics gathered suggest American’s recovered 5.7 million tons of paper for recycling and averaged 60% of organic/lawn waste composted.  All of this recycling and composting has reduced the amount of CO2 let off by 186 million metric tons.  The EPA cites this as “the equivalent of taking 39 million cars off the road for a year.”

America has come a long way from the 80’s, but there is a long way to go in just reducing the amount of waste.  Unfortunately, the EPA does not have data specific to Ohio (although they do other states).  However, we could in the future.  Tell your local representatives that you wish to support the data collection efforts of the EPA.  Better yet, collect the data at a local level and create a community challenge to reduce the annual percent of waste.


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