Monday, November 17, 2008

Municipal Solid Waste in the United States: Facts and Figures 2007

This Environmental Protection Agency Report describes the national municipal solid waste (MSW) stream based on data collected for 1960 through 2007. The historical perspective is useful for establishing trends in types of MSW generated and in the ways it is managed.

In the United States, we generated approximately 254 million tons of MSW in 2007— similar to the amount generated in 2006. Excluding composting, the amount of MSW recycled increased to 63.3 million tons, an increase of 1.9 million tons from 2006. This is a 3 percent increase in the tons recycled. The tons recovered for composting rose to 21.7 million tons in 2007, up from 20.8 million tons in 2006. The recovery rate for recycling (including composting) was 33.4 percent in 2007, up from 32.3 percent in 2006. (See Tables ES-1 and ES-2 and Figures ES-1 and ES-2.)

MSW generation in 2007 declined to 4.62 pounds per person per day. This is a decrease of 0.6 percent from 2006 to 2007. The recycling rate in 2007 was 1.54 pounds per person per day (an increase of 2.7 percent over 2006). Discards sent for combustion with energy recovery remained steady at 0.58 pounds per person per day. Discards sent to landfills after recycling and combustion with energy recovery declined to 2.50 pounds per person per day in 2007. This is a decrease of 2.7 percent from 2006 to 2007 (Table ES-3).

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