The Recycling Partnership, PepsiCo Foundation partner to drive investment in residential recycling

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The PepsiCo Foundation, the philanthropic arm of food and beverage company PepsiCo Inc., Purchase, New York, and the national nonprofit The Recycling Partnership, Falls Church, Virginia, have launched All In On Recycling. The organizations describe All In On Recycling as “the largest ever industrywide residential recycling challenge,” adding that it is designed to make recycling easier for 25 million families across the U.S. by providing them with the resources they need to recycle more and better.

The PepsiCo Foundation says it is providing $10 million in funding to jumpstart the challenge, which seeks to raise $25 million in total donations from leading businesses, companies and organizations. In addition to contributions from other corporations, the more than 2,800 communities that participate in the initiative are expected to triple the collective investment, catalyzing roughly $75 million in municipal funding and bringing the total amount of support to $100 million, according to a news release issued by the PepsiCo Foundation.

According to The Recycling Partnership’s estimates, the challenge will help the U.S. capture 1.9 million tons of quality recyclables within the next five years, including 7 billion bottles and cans. This would result in a total greenhouse gas avoidance of 5.5 million tons of carbon dioxide, which is the equivalent of removing more than 1 million cars from the road for one year.

According to the organizations, half of the total funds raised by this challenge are expected to help provide curbside carts to more than 550,000 households and the missing infrastructure needed to recover recyclables from multifamily homes. The remaining funding will support recycling education and operational programs designed to increase collection of recyclables while reducing contamination.

EPA: US recycling rate below 26 percent in 2015

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The combined recycling and composting rate for municipal solid waste (MSW) in the United States in 2015 remained on par with the rate seen in 2014, according to figures from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released in July.

The EPA’s “Advancing Sustainable Materials Management: 2015 Fact Sheet” assesses trends in material generation, recycling, composting, combustion with energy recovery and landfilling in the U.S. According to the report, only 25.8 percent of the nearly 262 million tons of MSW generated in the U.S. in 2015 were recovered for recycling. When composting is considered in combination with recycling, the diversion rate increases to 34.7 percent. That figure was 34.6 percent in 2014.

More than 33 million tons, or 12.8 percent, of MSW generated in the U.S. in 2015 were combusted for energy recovery, while more than 137 million tons, or 52.5 percent, were landfilled, according to the EPA.

At 68.05 million tons, paper and paperboard led in terms of materials generated by weight in 2015. More than 45 million tons of this material, or 66.6 percent, were recycled in 2015, according to EPA figures. While plastics comprised 34.5 million tons of the MSW generated in 2015, only 3.14 million tons were recycled, for a recycling rate of 9.1 percent.

In the product category, containers and packaging comprised the largest portion of MSW in 2015 at nearly 78 million tons (29.7 percent), according to the EPA, while nondurable and durable goods comprised more than 50 million tons each (about 20 percent for each).

According to the report, the product category of containers and packaging had the highest recycling rate at approximately 53 percent. The most recycled materials by percentage in the packaging category were paper products, steel and aluminium.

Nearly 31 percent of nondurable goods was recycled in 2015, the EPA says, with paper products such as newspapers and mechanical papers being the most recycled items in this category.

The recycling rate for durable goods was 19 percent for the year.

Additional reports in the EPA’s “Advancing Sustainable Materials Management” series can be found at www.epa.gov/facts-and-figures-about-materials-waste-and-recycling/advancing-sustainable-materials-management.