The 2006 “State of Garbage In America Report” found that Americans recycle 28.5%—or 110.4 million tons—of their trash each year. The study—conducted by the Earth Engineering Center of Columbia University in New York City and Bio-Cycle, Journal of Composting & Organics Recycling—collected data from municipal solid waste management in all 50 states during 2004.

Western states have the highest recycling rates in the nation at 38%, followed by the mid-Atlantic at 33%, and the Great Lakes region at 31%. The state with the highest recycling rate is Oregon at 45.8%. Other top states include Minnesota (43.2%), New York (43%), Tennessee (42.2%), and Washington (40.5%).

Other interesting facts:

  • The national recycling rate increased from 26.7% in 2002 to 28.5% in 2004 • The United States produced 387.9 million tons of garbage in 2004
  • Each American generates 1.3 tons per person per year of municipal solid waste
  • There are about 7700 curbside recycling programs in the United States.

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