As the global population continues to grow, have we gotten any better over the past few generations about reducing, reusing, and recycling? Yes we have!
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began collecting and reporting data on waste disposal over 30 years ago. The EPA utilizes this data to measure the success of materials management programs nationwide. The EPA has expanded their measurement systems beyond waste, where they are now focusing on Sustainable Materials Management (SMM), which is the use and reuse of materials across their entire life cycle.
According to the EPA the most recycled or composted products and materials in 2015 were:
Corrugated boxes (28.9 million tons);
Yard trimmings (21.3 million tons);
Mixed nondurable paper products (9.3 million tons);
Newspaper/mechanical papers (4.8 million tons);
Mixed paper containers and packaging (2.3 million tons).