Fun Facts About American Recycling

  • Alabama: In 1989, when Alabama began tracking its recycling rates, the average recycling rate was between 2.6 and 5% of the waste stream. Studies done between 2004 and 2007 have found that the rate has risen to about 8.3%. [source]

  • Alaska: Several Alaskan municipalities, including the Municipality of Anchorage decided to combat the difficulties of reselling crushed, recycled glass by approving its use in construction projects. So, while you cannot drink and drive in the Kenai Peninsula Borough (nor should you), you can drive on a road that was filled with an aggregate that includes your old beer bottles. [source]

  • Arizona: Arizona has increased their recycling rate from 6% in 1960 to a whopping 33% in 2008! [source]

  • Arkansas: In 2017 Arkansas residents recycled more than 6,000 tons of batteries, 8,500 tons of E-waste. Statewide, Arkansas has a recycling rate of nearly 45.5%, which is well above the national average. [source]

  • California: In 2013 more than 21 billion containers which fall under the California Refund Value program were sold. More than 18 billion of them were recycled. [source]

  • Colorado: While Colorado's statewide recycling rate is a meager 12%, nearly 95% of waste produced in Colorado could be composted or recycled. [source]

  • Connecticut: In 2016 Connecticut began a comprehensive plan to reuse or recycle 60% of its waste stream by 2024. [source]

  • Delaware: At 67%, Delaware has one of the best statewide recycling rates of any state in the country. That's nearly twice the national average! [source]

  • Florida: Florida aims to recycle 75% of its waste stream by 2020. In 2012 they were at 54%. [source

  • Georgia: Georgia is the second largest recycling market in the country. Home to more than 150 carpet plants, Dalton, Georgia is the Carpet Capital of the World, and much of that carpet is recycled. [source]

  • Hawaii: While many states are still catching up to the idea of municipal recycling, Hawaii has required hotels, restaurants, grocery stores, food courts, and other establishments that meet certain size requirements to compost their food waste since 1997. [source]

  • Idaho: Although many states not only offer recycling, but mandate participation by law, Idaho does not require every municipality to offer recycling to citizens. [source]

  • Illinois: Illinois diverts over 7 million tons of materials from landfills through its recycling programs, which saves enough energy to heat and lift 578,000 homes, and which reduces water pollution by 21,500 tons of various pollutants and reduces air pollution by 131,000 tons of various air pollutants. And they aren't stopping there! Illinois is working towards increasing diversion from landfills by increasing participation in composting programs. [source

  • Indiana: In 2001, the United States prefaced 229 million tons of waste, 18 million of which came from Indiana. 2001 is also when Indiana mandates recycling by law. [source]

  • Iowa: In 2012 it was reported that residents of Iowa recycle an average of 563 containers eligible for a bottle deposit per person each year, while states without deposits averaged 191 per person per year. [source]

  • Kansas: Kansas is one of the few states with localized, domestic glass recycling. [source]

  • Kentucky

  • Louisiana

  • Maine

  • Maryland

  • Massachusetts

  • Michigan

  • Minnesota

  • Mississippi

  • Missouri

  • Montana

  • Nebraska

  • Nevada

  • New Hampshire

  • New Jersey

  • New Mexico

  • New York

  • North Carolina

  • North Dakota

  • Ohio: The highest point in Hamilton County, Ohio is "Mount Rumpke", which is not a real geological feature, but is instead a mountain of trash at the Rumpke sanitary landfill. It is more than 1,000 ft above sea level. That's nearly as high above sea level as the Empire State Building! [source]

  • Oklahoma

  • Oregon: In 1971, Oregon was the first state to pass a bill with the intent to increase recycling rates. Many other states have subsequently jumped on the bandwagon and passed their own laws. [source]

  • Pennsylvania

  • Rhode Island

  • South Carolina

  • South Dakota

  • Tennessee

  • Texas

  • Utah

  • Vermont

  • Virginia

  • Washington

  • West Virginia

  • Wisconsin

  • Wyoming 

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