According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in 2014, Americans generated about 258 million tons of trash, and recycled and composted about 89 million tons of this material, equivalent to a 34.6% recycling rate. On average, Americans recycled and composted 1.51 pounds out of the individual waste generation rate of 4.40 pounds per person per day.
Many Americans recycle paper, aluminium, glass and plastic products every day without much thought, but textiles and clothing are less commonly recycled. The largest component of municipal solid waste continues organic materials (such as paper and paperboard, yard trimmings, and food), about 17% of that waste is rubber, leather and textiles.
Textile waste increased from 15.13 million tons in 2013 to 16.22 million tons in 2014. At the same time, the percentage of textiles being recycled decreased from 15.7% to 15.2%, meaning nearly 12.83 million tons were discarded in 2014. The 2.3 million tons of textiles that were recycled resulted in considerable savings in greenhouse gas emissions. The EPA estimates that recycling that many tons was the equivalent of taking 1.2 million cars off the road.
Find out how cities in Canada are making textile recycling a priority: Textiles are the next frontier in recycling for cities looking to cut waste, cbc News