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Americans Recycling Less, Sending Twice as Much Waste to Landfills

landfillAmericans don’t recycle as much as the EPA thinks and are sending more than twice as much waste to landfills, according to a study on solid waste disposal rates.

Yale University researchers looked at the records for more than 1,200 landfills and published their findings in the journal Nature Climate Change, the Associated Press reports. The Yale researchers reported 289 million tons in 2012; the EPA estimated 135 million tons for the same year. The Yale team’s 2013 waste-to-landfill calculations rose to 294 million tons.

If the Yale figures are correct, Americans aren’t recycling as much as the EPA thought. The agency estimated that Americans recycled 34.5 percent of their waste in 2012; the Yale calculation would put the recycling rate would at 21.4 percent.

David Steiner, CEO of Waste Management, has recently said “this is a crisis for the future of recycling. Momentum has been up…for the last 20 years, and now it’s stalling.”

Photo Credit: landfill via Shutterstock

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