Waste disposal in the U.S.As waste generation has increased over the years, so too has the volume of materials recycled and composted. However, the recycling rate in the United States stands at just over 30 percent. Of the roughly 300 million metric tons of MSW generated in the U.S., much is discarded at landfills. Not all types of plastic that is placed into recycling bins is recycled in the U.S. This means large volumes of plastics are landfilled, making it the second most common waste material that is landfilled.
There are more than 1,200 municipal waste landfills in the U.S., with a large number of operating landfills located in California. The waste management company Waste Management Inc. accounts for more than a quarter of the total waste managed in U.S. landfills.