Resources for Communities
Americans are becoming increasingly conscious about how their waste and recycling is collected and managed. Today, the waste and recycling industry is providing solutions for communities, including convenient curbside trash and recycling pick-up services, expanding composting programs, and waste-to-energy generation that is helping to meet our nation’s growing needs. Individuals, families, communities and businesses are helping to move our country in the right direction when it comes to waste management.
Explore this website to learn more about the industry and its solutions (and your part in the process). Below are further resources to help you realize your own waste and recycling management goals.
2014 National Recycling Survey
Curbside recycling is available to more than half of American adults, but the public could benefit from additional education on what can be recycled, according to a recent national survey.
The survey, commissioned ahead of Earth Day by the National Waste & Recycling Association (Waste & Recycling) and conducted online by the Harris Poll among more than 2,000 U.S. adults in April, found that two-thirds of Americans are clear on what belongs in recycling bins, indicating an opportunity to expand the other third’s knowledge of what can be recycled. Waste & Recycling is the trade group representing America’s private waste and recycling industry.
“It is encouraging to learn that many Americans have access to recycling at home and are smart about what materials are recyclable. Our industry works every day to expand recycling, to increase the variety of materials we can recycle and to better educate the public to recycle even smarter,” said Sharon H. Kneiss, president and CEO of Waste & Recycling.
The survey found that more than half of Americans (55 percent) confirm their town or city offers “curbside collection” of recyclables, which they place into a bin or cart separate from their household trash bin. Additionally, two-thirds of Americans (67 percent) say they’re clear on what materials go in recycling bins, and 64 percent know it is necessary to rinse used food containers before placing them into recycling receptacles.
Yet, there is some room for improvement on our recycling behaviors. For example, the survey found that one item causes particular confusion, as 39 percent of Americans incorrectly believe it is acceptable to recycle plastic bags by tossing them into household bins. Plastic bags can damage and even shut down recycling facilities and should instead be recycled at participating grocery stores.
The survey also uncovered that one in every 10 Americans (9 percent) admit to having put their trash into recycling bins or carts when their own trash container was full, and one in five (20 percent) admit they will place an item into a recycling container even if they are not completely sure it is recyclable.
“Americans should ‘know before they throw’ when recycling—it’s important to put the right materials in the bin and to keep the wrong ones out. This preserves the quality of the recycling stream and prevents contamination and damage to recycling equipment and facilities,” Kneiss said. But she reiterated the industry is focused on expanding access and options.
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of the National Waste & Recycling Association from April 7-9, 2014 among 2,025adults ages 18 and older.This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact .
Find a Recycling Center/Service
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency offers a wealth of resources on their Reduce, Reuse, Recycle page.
2013 National Recycling Survey
But how do we feel about recycling? And can we be doing more of it?
For America Recycles Day 2013, the National Waste & Recycling Association commissioned a survey of Americans on their attitudes and behaviors when it comes to recycling. The survey data showed that Americans are overwhelmingly positive about recycling—but that there was also an expressed need to expand recycling in public places.
There is clear, positive energy when it comes to recycling and for majority of Americans:
- 82% feel proud when they recycle.
- 62% feel guilty when trashing something they could have recycled.
- 74% will make an extra effort to recycle outside their homes.
Americans are recycling at work, but less successfully “on the go”
- Americans have mixed results recycling outside their homes, showing they may lack access to recycling options.
- More than half are “often successful” recycling at work, but much fewer are successful in other public places.
Recycling isn’t yet a “no-brainer” for most Americans
- Americans are split on whether they will toss recyclable items in the trash if they can’t find a recycling bin nearby, or whether they will keep the items until they can recycle them later.
What can we do about it?
Americans are recycling, want to recycle, feel good when recycling and will make an effort to recycle outside their homes. We need to make recycling options accessible to the point that recycling that can or bottle in your hand becomes a no-brainer.
We need more recycling options on our main streets and in our shopping malls, restaurants, theaters, airports, gas stations and other public spaces.
Contact your local waste company, businesses, fellow residents and community leaders and let them know you are proud to recycle. Together, we can all partner to make more public recycling options a reality.
America Recycles Day
America Recycles Day, a program of Keep America Beautiful, is a nationally recognized day dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the United States. Every year on or around November 15 (America Recycles Day) event organizers like you, educate neighbors, friends and colleagues through thousands of events.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency offers information on composting at home, including a useful how-to-guide.