The Real Truth About The U.S. Plastics Recycling Rate
MAY 2022 | BEYOND PLASTICS
The Last Beach Clean Up and Beyond Plastics’ report “The Real Truth About the U.S. Plastics Recycling Rate” documents a recycling rate of just 5-6% for post-consumer plastic waste in the U.S. for 2021. The report also reveals that while plastics recycling is on the decline, the per capita generation of plastic waste has increased by 263% since 1980.
The failure of plastic recycling is in contrast to paper which is recycled at 66% (2020 figure per American Forest and Products Association). High recycling rates of post-consumer paper, cardboard, and metals proves that recycling works to reclaim valuable natural material resources. It is plastic recycling that has always failed as it has never reached 10% even when millions of tons of plastic waste per year were counted as recycled when exported to China.