10 Stats That Explain the Future of Recycling

15.4 million tons of recyclables are collected annually

The Recycling Partnership, an action agent transforming the recycling system and activating
a circular economy for packaging, recently released a 2021 report titled Paying It Forward: How Investment in Recycling Will Pay Dividends.

This report provides an exhaustive state of the union on the U.S.'s current recycling system, the challenges we face in making improvements, the hefty price tag, and what we can expect from such a large investment. We've identified 10 key stats that summarize this 50 page report into the facts you need to understand the most.

If you are interested in some of the specific data around the capital investment details and flexible packaging implications, we highly recommend you read the full report after skimming our highlights.

The Need

  • Approximately 40 million U.S. households still do not have recycling access that is equitable to their trash service
  • The U.S.'s current  recycling rate is around 32% with only 15.4 million tons of recyclables currently being collected per year
  • A $17 billion investment is needed to transform the U.S. residential recycling system and make it accessible to everyone (paid for by a $10 per household annual investment)
    improvements to recycling behavior a
  • Surveys show 9 out of 10 people believe in recycling

The Benefit

  • The net outcome of an investment of that size provides an economic benefit of $30.8 billion over 10 years in terms of wages, taxes, landfill savings, and the value of recyclables and an increase to 32.3 million tons recyclables collected 
  • The recycling rate would grow from 32% to 68% with equitable access and education

  • Landfill costs would be reduced by $9.4 billion, preventing significant long-term environmental damage
  • A modernized recycling system will provide almost 200,000 new jobs

The Expectations

  • 84% of consumers expect packages to be recyclable and made from recycled material
  • The U.S. has pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030

Fox Packaging is actively involved in numerous sustainability initiatives from our participation in the How2Recyle program to our ongoing sustainable packaging education and continued investment in recyclable flexible packaging materials. Contact us today to learn how we can support your sustainability goals with our flexible packaging solutions.

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Paying It Forward: How Investment in Recycling Will Pay Dividends


Topics: Fresh Produce, produce packaging, fox packaging, recycling, sustainable