Statistically Still Low in Los Angeles, Elsewhere

Despite an overall boom in recycling in the United States, efforts to increase the amount of items that are recycled have not, as yet, been as fruitful as proponents wish. According to an article on the RTS website, municipal solid waste (MSW) is recycled at a rate of only 35%. This means the remaining 65% of MSW ends up in city or county landfills and decreases the usable lifetime of those facilities. Some municipalities such as Burbank, CA and around the state of California itself have implemented mandatory recycling orders for businesses to address the problem.

Municipal solid waste for recycling Los Angeles
Municipal solid waste for recycling Los Angeles

Whether these measures are helpful or draconian is open to debate but the fact remains that increased levels of recycling on a personal as well as commercial level will have some sort of impact on landfill lifetimes and the amount of waste disposed of in our communities.

Solid waste and recycling centers explained

Waste management encompassed a number of things from companies who identify specifically as such, to ideas or initiatives. In essence it’s the difference between a noun and an adjective. Regardless, the desired effect is the same.

Recycling In General Very Popular

As we mentioned, above, no matter what the statistics on community waste reduction efforts, the recycling industry on a whole is expanding and even more strongly in this latter half of 2021 now that California has reopened almost to pre-pandemic levels. One a personal level, more residents are bringing their plastic, glass and metal to (in some cases) newly-reopened recycling centers. The closure of these facilities during 2020 may have resulted in a backlog of recyclables at peoples’ homes and pent up demand to get rid of them.

In other cases the scrap metal recycling industry also continues to grow, in some cases exponentially. In Los Angeles, metal recyclers have not seen any downward movement as their suppliers (so-called scrappers) continue to feed the demand for ferrous and non-ferrous metals alike. The fact that some of these scrappers may have been financially affected by the coronavirus and its attendant shutdowns also plays a role in the growth of the scrap industry. Out of work restaurant workers may be finding ways to augment their income by turning to the world of scrap metal recycling for the first time.

So, while it may be true that communities struggle to decrease the amount of MSW they produce, individuals (in the Los Angeles area in particular) are contributing to an overall reduction in landfill usage.