Most people know recycling is important, but that is not always enough to make people take the extra few steps to make recycling a part of their day to day trash management routine. Many cities are taking steps to make it easier for residents to recycle common items such as paper, cardboard, aluminum, and plastics. However, many areas of the country still have little to no recycling program other than local drop off locations, thus putting all the work and effort squarely on the shoulders of residents. The overall U.S. recycling rate a few years ago was estimated at 35.2%. However, we cannot just take this figure at face value and say that only 35% of people in the country care about or want to recycle. Underneath that number is a more complicated picture that needs to be better examined and understood to get the full picture of waste management and recycling in the US.
Understanding the Numbers
The recycling rate for bulk containers, shipping boxes, and similar materials was around 50% in 2017. This was about a 3% decline from the numbers reported in 2015. The U.S. EPA routinely releases projet summaries and reviews of various industries under their umbrella, including solid waste management and recycling. Between 2015 and 2017, recycling rates overall in the United States fell for most standard recycling materials. These include the items commonly seen at recycling drop locations and those most commonly collected by households. They include things like aluminum cans, paper products, glass beer bottles, product packaging, plastic soft drink bottles, corrugated boxes, and other common items. However, recycling rates did show an increase for some more specialized products, including wine and liquor bottles, as well as the newer HDPE natural bottles as well as PET bottles. Recycling numbers for these items held steady and even saw an increase in certain areas of the country.
Highs and Lows, the Good and Bad
Another area of recycling that has been seeing a decline over recent years, despite the usage increasing every single year, is in electronics recycling. This demonstrates a troubling trend that is starting to emerge, especially considering the country's reliance on electronics and the rate at which tablets, phones, and computers are being used and replaced. There has been some good news from the EPA recently, though on the waste reduction and reducing front. "The recovery rate for food scraps and yard debris, which both hit their highest composting rates ever. Combined, they had a composting rate of 35.6% in 2017, up from 31.4% two years earlier. Individually, the yard trimmings composting rate was 69.4% in 2017, up from 61.3% in 2015. and the food waste composting rate was 6.3% in 2017, up from 5.3% in 2015" (Resource Recycling).
To learn more about the difference you can make when it comes to recycling, contact us today here at Central Kentucky Fiber Resources, LLC. We would love the opportunity to talk to you about how you can make a difference with recycling at home and at work! Call now to learn more or check out our website for additional information.