Recycling During a Pandemic: One Year Later

SOURCE: Republic Services


As we reflect on a full year of COVID-19, it is obvious that our lives have been changed immeasurably, and business across the board has shifted to meet the demands of the “new normal.” 

In addition to some of the more obvious changes, our waste and recycling habits have evolved as well. With at-home eating, drinking, and shopping occurring more than ever before, some areas of the country have seen residential trash and recycling increase by as much as 20%. And what they are recycling is shifting as well – for example, the amount of aluminum in our bins has jumped by 17%.  

A recent survey from OnePoll revealed that 58% of Americans are reevaluating their eco-friendly habits as a result of the pandemic. Check out the most significant changes in consumers’ recycling and other eco-friendly behaviors during the past year. 

  1. According to the OnePoll survey, 65% of respondents also said the pandemic has acted as a wake-up call for them to make sustainable choices. And, 41% of people say they are working to waste less and conserve more resources, while 30% have committed to being more careful when it comes to sorting recyclables.
  2. In 2020, Republic Services processed 6 million tons of recyclables. 
  3. As a result of the online retail boom (across the country, the USPS reported that package volume increased by 19% in 2020), Republic has experienced a 63% increase in residential cardboard recycling in some areas of the country. 
  4. With many activities, including restaurants and bars, closed or with limited hours, more and more Americans are drinking beverages – of all types – at home:
  5. Beyond recycling, organic waste – old food leftovers, yard waste, and debris – increased by 20%, helping Republic create more than 500,000 tons of nutrient-rich compost. 

One silver lining of the pandemic is that it has heightened concern for the environment in most people. With more and more Americans making a commitment to proper recycling, we recommend visiting It is an additional resource to learn more about what can and cannot be recycled in your home. 

Learn more about recycling basics and sustainability at

Tweet me: As we reflect on a full year of COVID-19, it is obvious that our lives have been changed immeasurably, and business across the board has shifted to meet the demands of the “new normal.” @republicservice

KEYWORDS: NYSE:RSG, Republic Services

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