The Growth of Recycling

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Due to Americans' growing acceptance of recycling, over the last several decades the amount of waste recycled has increased each year in the United States. One by one, cities and municipalities have voluntarily implemented convenient curbside recycling programs, and laws have required the use of recycled content in certain manufacturing processes. One of the first curbside collection programs was established in 1973 in California. It collected mostly newspapers and other kinds of paper, but as the size of the waste stream grew and the costs of landfilling increased, other states and localities gradually adopted similar programs, and many expanded the types of recyclables these programs collected. Today recycling is ubiquitous across the United States. According to an article written by garbage experts Heather Rogers and Christian Parenti in 2002, "More Americans recycle than vote."13 The latest EPA statistics (2005) show the

A child's toy and plastic packaging are recycled at the San Francisco Recycling Center in 2008. The city of San Francisco is the leader in recycling across the United States and accepts a huge range of items, including many plastics.

A child's toy and plastic packaging are recycled at the San Francisco Recycling Center in 2008. The city of San Francisco is the leader in recycling across the United States and accepts a huge range of items, including many plastics.

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United States has 8,550 curbside recycling programs. And many municipalities that have not yet established curbside recycling have at least created drop-off recycling programs, adding to the amount of wastes that are kept out of landfills. Many cities also have added municipal programs to collect organic wastes such as yard trimmings.

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