Bloomberg's Leslie Kaufman is reporting on recycling in America.
In the United States, only a small fraction of recyclable materials from households actually get recycled, according to new research. The national recycling rate at the residential level is approximately 21%, with 76% of recyclables being discarded as trash. This figure contrasts sharply with the overall U.S. recycling rate of 32% which includes industrial, commercial, and residential collections. The study, conducted by The Recycling Partnership, revealed significant variations in recycling rates across states, with some states like Montana, Mississippi, North Dakota, and Alabama having rates below 10%, while even California only recycles 37% of potential residential recyclables. Researchers analyzed data from 9,000 collection programs and also worked with individual households to understand recycling behaviors. The report highlights challenges such as limited access to recycling services, particularly for multifamily homes, and wide variations in accepted materials across different regions. Additionally, the report suggests that more producer responsibility laws could significantly boost recycling rates.
(This article was written with assistance from ChatGPT)