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The State Of Recycling In The U.S.

Posted by Junk King on Sep 20, 2018 12:11:00 PM
Recycling is something we are all familiar with and even practice for the most part. But, as a society, there is much more we can do to minimize the waste going into landfills.



As Americans, we promote the concepts of recycling and "being green." Most municipal areas now provide recycle bins for every household, and many families and individuals make it a habit to regularly take cans and bottles to their local recycling center. However, there is still room for improvement in the U.S. when it comes to recycling.

In fact, as a country, we produce about 260 million tons of trash each year. This works out to almost 4.5 bounds of garbage per day for every person in the United States. That’s over 1,600 pounds of trash for just one person!

Unfortunately, it’s estimated that only 30 to 35 percent of that waste is actually recycled. Some places are better at this than others. For example, California, Washington and Maine have the highest rates of recycling. But the recycling levels in the country as a whole have not improved much in the last twenty years. And this is even after billions of dollars are spent on recycling competitions, recycling awareness campaigns and the development of more efficient sorting technologies.

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Recycling Boosts the Environment and the Economy

Recycling, it turns out, is one of the major ways the we can contribute to the improvement of both our environment and our economy. While most people never think about it, the waste management and recycling industry has become a major employer and contributor to the nation’s economic well-being.

The recycling industry is a $206 billion industry and provides jobs for almost 150,000 people each year. The most recent data found that recycling and reuse activities helped to create over 750,000 thousand jobs which equates to about $36 billion in wages for just one year.

A major contributor to this industry in the construction industry. In addition to all of the household and commercial waste generated every year, construction and demolition, or C&D, waste recycling provides over 230,000 jobs, more than $11 billion in wages, and almost two billion dollars in taxes.

The potential for growth in the recycling and reuse industry is still massive, however. In fact, it’s been estimated that the United States alone has the capability of recycling about $80 billion worth of products every year.

The State of Recycling in America

Here is a graphic overview of the state of recycling in America based on the most recently available statistics and data.


It's More Than Just Reducing Landfills

We hear it all the time: recycle and save the environment. Trips to the recycling center are common and our municipal waste bins are now blue and green, as well. We have different bins or different compartments, for different materials, all so it can be recycled.

So, what are some of the most common items you can recycle?

  • Plastics – Americans throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour!

  • Metals – The average person in the U.S. can recycle more than 25,000 cans in a lifetime.

  • Paper – We throw out enough office paper each year to build a 12-foot high wall across the U.S.

  • Glass – Over 78,000,000 glass bottles and jars end up in U.S.  landfills every day.

  • Cardboard – Recycling just one ton of cardboard can save almost 50 gallons of oil.

What many people don’t realize is that almost everything that ends up in the garbage can be recycled, repurposed or reused. And there are many other common materials that represent significant amounts of our household trash and junk that should be recycled, but usually are not.

Not only does recycling reduce the amount of landfill space needed – and landfills themselves – but it also reduces the need for energy resources required to produce new products from raw materials. At one level it is simply a matter of mathematics: the more material for manufacturing we can generate through recycling, the less raw materials and natural resources we will use.

By being aware and being strategic in your junk disposal practices you can make a huge difference in the overall recycling efforts, in the environment, and in the economy.

The Green Team for Your Junk Removal Needs

Junk King is proud to be North America’s "greenest" green junk removal service. We pioneered the practice of recycling-based junk removal in 2005 and have been going greener ever since. We sort each and every job for metals, e-waste, paper, household goods, textiles, furniture and appliances, in our recycling warehouses.

But “going green” also means we donate, repurpose, and reuse everything from clothing, toys, baby cribs and strollers to office furniture and supplies. We run many of our trucks run on biodiesel, a domestically produced fuel made from more environmentally safe non-petroleum, renewable resources. Junk King is committed to continuing to lead the way to help keep our planet clean, green and beautiful for the generations to come.

Our team specializes in trash and junk removal. We can be at your home in mere minutes, so call us today! Our crew is fully insured and well-trained, so you can trust them to get rid of your unwanted items in a professional and courteous fashion.

One of the best things about hiring Junk King is that we recycle a much of the material we pick-up. This is proof of our commitment to being an eco-friendly removal service. If you have questions about what we do or what we believe, give us a call at 1-888-888-JUNK.


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Topics: Recycling, junk recycling, Landfills, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, household waste

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