Select Page

Municipal Solid Waste Generation, Materials Recovery, Combustion with Energy Recovery, and Discards in the United States: 1980 to 2006

(In millions of tons, except as indicated).

Even though the United States is producing more waste, in total and per capita, because of recycling and energy recovery the same amount (and less per person) ends up in the landfill today than did in 1980.

Item and material 1980 2006
Waste generated 151.6 251.3
Per person per day (lb.) 3.7 4.6
Total materials recovery 14.5 81.8
Per person per day (lb.) 0.4 1.5
Combustion with energy recovery 2.7 31.4
Per person per day (lb.) 0.1 0.6
Discards to landfill, other disposal 134.4 138.2
Per person per day (lb.) 3.2 2.5


Note: Covers post-consumer residential and commercial solid wastes which comprise the major portion of typical municipal collections. Excludes mining, agricultural and industrial processing, demolition and construction wastes, sewage sludge, and junked autos and obsolete equipment wastes.