There’s a lot to be said about improving municipal recycling efforts. It helps to keep public spaces clean, eradicate pest problems, and provide measurable environmental benefits by waste diversion from landfills. Towns can also reduce tipping costs and other expenses related to waste disposal, and increase credits recycling incentive programs.
"Even in small cities, the returns from an efficient recycling program can have quite an impact," according to the EPA. Participation in urban recycling can be challenging but it’s often due in part to the programs in place. We know that city recycling programs need to appeal to a large and diverse population. Programs focused on increasing participating help to improve recycling rates. Below are a few interesting recycling stats from the EPA's latest national survey in 2009, as reported by our friends at Keep America Beautiful:
- Americans recovered 34% of waste generated in 2009.
- About 9,000 curbside residential recycling programs existed in the US that year.
- The 34% diverted waste equaled 82 million tons of recycled material.
- This national wide recycling behavior reduced CO2 emissions in a mass equal to removing 33 million passenger vehicles from the roads.
- The US recycling industry workforce is comprised of 1.1 million employees, generating over $236 billion in annual revenue.
- The recyclable materials left in the US landfill waste stream would have amounted to over $7 billion if properly recycled.
- There was 3 pounds of trash per person per day thrown away into the landfill waste stream; that is enough trash to circle the earth 24 times.