The US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recently completed 2007 Municipal Solid Waste Characterization Report shows Americans recycled and composted 85 million tons of the 254 million tons of total municipal solid waste produced in 2007, the last updated year.
According to the report, each person produced 4.6 pounds of trash per day, of which 1.5 pounds were recycled or composted. Recycling has increased slightly over 2006, when people recycled and composted around 82 million tons of the 251 million tons of total municipal solid waste produced.
The EPA is encouraging Americans to think about increasing their individual recycling rate over the national average of 33.4 percent. November 15, 2008 is dedicated to encouraging Americans to recycle and to buy recycled products, with more than 35 states holding special events.
According to EPA, recycling 85 billion tons of municipal solid waste in 2007 saved the energy equivalent of more than 10.7 billion gallons of gasoline and prevented the greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 35 million passenger vehicles. EPA notes that the American recycling and reuse industry is currently a $200 billion dollar enterprise.