Americans are recycling in record amounts, but are also throwing out more trash than ever before, according to a report released yesterday by the GrassRoots Recycling Network. Recycling kept 28 percent of municipal waste out of landfills and incinerators in 1997, the last year for which the EPA has data, triple the recycling rate of 1980. More than 150 million Americans recycle at home or work, the report found. Still, the amount of trash thrown out at homes and offices increased by 6 percent or 4.4 million tons from 1996 to 1997, while recycling increased by just 1 percent during that period. One aspect of the problem is that the strong economy spurred Americans to buy, consume, and throw out more stuff. Another is that manufacturers are failing to use recycled materials and are producing plastic containers that cannot be easily recycled.
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