Commercial recycling is hit or miss in the U.S. — in some cases, for example, companies assume that recycling is occurring, but their cleaning companies are actually mixing recycling with garbage and throwing everything out as trash. From 35 to 45 percent of waste produced in the U.S. in 1999 was commercial, according to the U.S. EPA. Unlike in Europe, however, the U.S. government doesn’t require commercial recycling and only a few states or local communities do. The EPA’s WasteWise program encourages companies to throw out less and buy recycled products. So far, it has helped 1,100 big businesses, start-ups, and nonprofits set waste-reduction and recycling goals.
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