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U.S. plastics recycling as a share of generation 1960-2017

The rate of plastic recycled in the United States as a share of generation has remained quite low the entire time that plastics have been on the market. From less than one percent of generated plastics being recycled in 1980, to an eight percent share of plastics being recycled in 2017, the U.S. has a long way to go in improving their part in the global plastic waste crisis.

Share of plastics recycled in the United States from 1960 to 2017*

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Release date

November 2019


United States

Survey time period

1960 to 2017

Supplementary notes

*Recycling as a percentage of municipal solid waste generation.
**The source states 'Neg.' recycling for the years 1960 and 1970, meaning less than 0.05 percent.
***Less than one percent.

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Statistics on "Plastic waste in the U.S."

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