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News Releases from HeadquartersLand and Emergency Management (OLEM)

EPA Celebrates Recycling Progress and Economic Contribution on 20th America Recycles Day

11/15/2017
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WASHINGTON (November 15, 2017) — Today, on the 20th America Recycles Day, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) celebrates the importance of recycling to our nation’s economy.

“We encourage all Americans to recycle more today, and every day,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said. “Reusing, and recycling can help you, your community, and the environment by saving money, energy, and natural resources.”

With a greater focus on recycling, the U.S. recycling rate has more than tripled over the last 30 years to the current rate of 34 percent. According to our most recent data from 2007, recycling and reuse activities created 757,000 jobs, produced $36.6 billion in wages and $6.7 billion in tax revenues in the United States in that year.

Despite our recent success, much more can be done to increase recycling. Construction and Demolition (C&D) materials are one of the largest generated waste streams in our nation, at 534 million tons as of 2014. Instead of throwing these materials away, we can reuse them to rebuild and improve infrastructure, save money and create jobs. Recycling these materials not only supports the national recycling sector; it also decreases reliance on foreign imports. Reusing and recycling more materials and ensuring that salvaged and recycled-content materials are used in new construction can save resources and create more jobs.

C&D recycling accounted for almost 232,000 jobs, more than $11.6 billion in wages, and nearly $1.9 billion in taxes in 2007, which is more jobs, wages and revenue generated than any other material measured that year, according to the 2007 EPA analysis.

American households can get involved in the effort to help increase the national recycling rate and strengthen the economy by recycling more materials. Recycled content is all around us and is essential to everyday life, as it is a central component of the infrastructure and products that most of us use on a daily basis. For example, recycling just 10 plastic bottles saves enough energy to power a laptop for more than 25 hours.

To recognize the importance of recycling, celebrate our efforts, and encourage more recycling, President Trump proclaimed Nov. 15 to be America Recycles Day. To read the message from the President, please visit: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/11/15/america-recycles-day

For more information on recycling and America Recycles Day, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/recycle/america-recycles-day-2017