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According to the EPA’s 2012 report, Americans recycled and composted almost 87 million tons of municipal solid waste in 2012. The infographic above breaks down different categories of waste. On the left, you can see the total amount of waste generated, and on the right, you can see how much of that was recycled and composted. The percentage listed in the middle is representative of the rate at which a material is recycled.
In 2012, American generated over 251 million tons of trash, putting the recycling rate at 34.5%. This rate continues to rise. In the year 2000, Americans recycled 28.5% of materials.
As the infographic shows, yard trimmings and paper products are commonly recycled. While food and “other waste” makes up a big portion of generated waste, this is the category with the least amount of material recycled.