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Types of waste currently recycled in the U.S. 2017

The most commonly recycled type of waste thrown out by U.S. consumers is plastic. According to a 2017 survey, 85 percent of Americans recycle plastic while only 19 percent compost their organic waste.

Metal Recycling in the United States

Recycling was relatively uncommon for most of the 20th century and only began to take off in the early 2000s. Modern recycling technology has advanced to the point where even waste wood products can be recovered from solid waste streams, which was not feasible twenty years ago. Among different types of metal waste, nearly 70 percent of all lead is recycled, while only 50 percent of aluminum is recycled in the United States.

U.S. Waste Management

Waste management is an essential service for the overwhelming majority of Americans, who rely on municipal services or private companies to remove trash from their homes and businesses. In 2018, the gross output of U.S. waste management and remediation services industry amounted to 107.4 billion U.S. dollars. Though it can be burdensome, about a fifth of Americans have ordered an additional service to pick up recyclable waste, such as large pieces of furniture or scrap metal.

Which types of waste do you currently recycle?

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Release date

April 2017


United States

Survey time period

March 20 to 29, 2017

Number of respondents

878 respondents

Age group

18 years and older

Special properties

Respondents who recycle at least sometimes

Method of interview

Online survey

Supplementary notes

Multiple answers could be given.

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Statistics on "Trash disposal in the United States (Statista Survey)"

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