The state of the municipal recycling industry in the US

The state of the municipal recycling industry in the US

Our report shares insights into the U.S. recycling sector pulled from surveys of material recovery facility operators, haulers and government officials, as well as from roundtable discussions.

September 14, 2021

Earlier this summer, Recycling Today and Waste Today partnered to produce a survey that was administered by Readex Research of Stillwater, Minnesota, with the intention of gauging the state of the municipal recycling industry in the U.S. The results were published in the September issue of Recycling Today. Of the 188 respondents, 46 percent indicated they were in the government sector, 41 percent identified as haulers and 12 percent indicated they were material recovery facility (MRF) operators. 

Research for this report was funded by sponsors CP Manufacturing of San Diego and Shred-Tech of Cambridge, Ontario.

In addition to the survey, the staff of Recycling Today hosted three virtual roundtables in the spring: one with MRF operators, one with government recycling officials and one with representatives from consumer packaged goods companies. (Some of the MRF operators who participated in the roundtable and some of the government participants also offer hauling services.) 

The survey results and the roundtables help to illustrate the resilient and adaptable nature of the U.S. recycling industry. Respondents share how they are responding to recent challenges, including those related to the pandemic; the areas they are investing in within their businesses and communities; and contracting practices. 

Excerpts from the roundtable discussions, as well as results from the survey Readex sent out on our behalf, are included in The State of the Municipal Recycling Industry report. However, we had more content than the print issue allowed, so we created a special section on the Recycling Today website where we are sharing additional information over the month of September. Be sure to check it out at