New EREF report indicates higher MSW, lower recycling rates than EPA estimates

By Cole Rosengren, Waste Dive.

Dive Brief:

  • The Environmental Research & Education Foundation (EREF) released a new report titled "Municipal Solid Waste Management in the U.S.: 2010 & 2013" which it says is the first to use a bottom-up methodology that assesses individual tonnage from more than 9,000 facilities.
  • Using this method, EREF found that 347 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) were generated in 2013 as compared to the EPA's estimate of 254 million tons. The report found that 64% of this waste was managed at landfills, 21% was recycled, 9% went to waste-to-energy facilities and 6% was composted.
  • Between 2010 and 2013, the amount of MSW being composted increased by 10% to 21.3 million tons. About 70% of this material was yard waste.