America’s Recycling Crisis: 9 Key Recycling Statistics For 2022

By Aaron Champion – Updated October 2022

Here are 9 recycling statistics every American should know.

If you’re looking for information or data on:

  • Global waste recycling services market value
  • US recycling rate
  • Average amount of garbage Americans produce per day
  • Number of jobs recycling creates in the US
  • Annual revenue recycling contributes to the US economy

This list is packed with current statistics that you’ll find useful..

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Facts & Figures

It’s no secret that recycling is good for the environment. Not only does it reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills, but it also helps to conserve resources and reduce pollution.

Recycling in the U.S. is broken. In 1960, Americans generated 2.68 pounds of garbage per day; by 2017, it had grown to an average of 4.51 pounds.

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Back in 1960, only 7% of US waste was recycled or diverted – today, that number is almost 35%3 , a 5x increase!

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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that Americans generate around 254 million tons of waste every year. Of that waste, only 34.3% is recycled or composted.

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Recycling impact
on the Economy

The recycling industry has a significant impact on the economy. In addition to providing jobs for millions of people, it also generates billions of dollars in revenue each year. The recycling industry is a major contributor to the gross domestic product (GDP) and is responsible for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and conserving energy and natural resources.

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Recycling and Reuse Add Value to the US Economy
According to the study, the recycling and reuse industry consists of approximately 56,000 establishments that employ more than 1.1 million people, generate an annual payroll of nearly $37 billion, and gross over $236 billion in annual revenues. 

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On a national average, there are 1.17 jobs, $65,230 wages and $9,420 tax revenues attributable, for every 1,000 (US) tons of recyclables collected and recycled.

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The overall impact of the recycling industry on the economy of the United States is about $116.8 billion, a significant number that accounts for $350 for every person in the country. 

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I hope you enjoyed this list of recycling statistics. We add new stats on a regular basis. So check back soon for even more interesting facts, figures, quotes and stats.

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