In the Field

Municipal Solid Waste in the US – EPA

Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) in the United States
2008 Facts and Figures

This fact sheet is the latest publication describing the national waste stream based on data collected from 1960 through 2007. It contains information on the benefits of recycling, as well as data on waste generation, recycling, and disposal. It’s also accompanied by data tables that present detailed data that is produced each year. This year, it also includes a summary of our methodology for developing this data.

The full report incorporating these data tables is produced every other year. The most current edition contains 2007 data:

  • MSW generation, recovery, and disposal from 1960 to 2008;
  • Per capita generation and discard rates;
  • Source reduction (waste prevention);
  • Materials (e.g., paper, glass, metals, plastic) that comprise MSW, as well as products
  • (e.g., durable and nondurable goods, containers, packaging) found in the waste stream;
  • Aggregate data on the infrastructure for MSW management, including estimates of the number of curbside recycling programs, composting programs, and landfills in the U.S.; and
  • Trends in MSW management from 1960 to 2008, including source reduction, recovery for recycling (including composting), and disposal via combustion and landfilling.

Download the EPA’s report on municipal solid waste.