Most Americans are hunkered down in their homes, keeping clear of the novel coronavirus — there have been about 760,000 people in the United States as of April 20. Staying inside all day, every day may have a positive environmental effect as it has helped reduce air pollution levels in some major cities, but homebound residents are hurting the environment as well because they are generating more garbage and trash haulers are barely keeping up.
With so many news articles showing images of clean cities, clean air, and animals thriving as humans hide inside, now may be a good time to think how else people may protect the planet. Some long-term benefits of recycling include creating environmentally-related jobs, reducing water and air pollution, conserving energy, and preserving natural resources.
In 2017, the latest year for which EPA data is available, about 267.8 million tons of garbage, or or 4.51 pounds per person per day, were generated in the United States, about 94 million tons of which were recycled and composted. This is equivalent to a 35.2% recycling and composting rate.
States have recognized the importance of recycling and have been working to promote it for years. A noticeable trend may be making their job difficult — we are producing more waste per person.
To determine what each state will pay its residents for recycling, 24/7 Tempo looked at beverage container deposit laws in all 10 states that have such statutes and reviewed recycling programs — both public and private — in each state.