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Statewide Recycling Data

In 2017, over 6.36 million tons of recyclable materials were collected and processed in Pennsylvania. This removed an equivalent of more than 9.68 tons of carbon dioxide emissions from the air over 2.09 million passenger vehicles from roads for one year; these same recycled resources are also equal to eliminating the electricity used in over 1.64 million homes or the energy used in more than 1.12 million homes. Pennsylvania’s recycling effort in 2017 showed a loss of 1.48 million tons in 2017 from the prior year. This difference is directly related to a reduction in 2017 reports of 1.61 million tons. These figures are also consistent with the decline North American recycling is experiencing overall.

For 2016, Pennsylvania recycled over 7.84 million tons of materials; this cut an equivalent of more than 10.23 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions from the air and over 2.21 million passenger vehicles from the road for one year. This same 7.84 million tons can also represent the amount of electricity saved in 1.73 million American homes per year. A major factor causing stagnation of the amount of materials recycled in 2016 was the continuation of a sluggish economy in 2015, with further loss of Commonwealth businesses.

Summary of Environmental Benefits Analysis Table

Larger version of the Environmental Equivalency Summary table.

NOTE: Equivalents have been re-evaluated to include tonnages from Comingled Materials and therefore are higher than in previous reports.

*Number is high due to unusual increase in amount recycled for Mixed Metals that year.

Total recycling in PA graph

Larger version of the Total Recycling in Pennsylvania graph.