Republic Says Surge in Recycled Materials Resulting from Pandemic

Date: April 15, 2021

Source: Republic Services, Inc.

In honor of Earth Day 2021, Republic Services reports rather dramatic increases in residential recycling over the last year, as consumers shifted their behavior in response to the lock-down measures imposed during the pandemic. For example, online shopping drove a 63 percent increase in cardboard boxes in some markets. At-home consumption of food and beverages led to 17 percent increasing in aluminum cans, 13 percent glass bottles and 7 percent more plastic bottles. And while at home, more people engaged in home projects including more yard work that led to a 20 percent increase in organics collection. The company boasts having recycled this organic material into more than half a million tons of nutrient-rich compost.


Apr. 15, 2021

Pandemic Recycling Data Shows Big Spikes in Cardboard Boxes, Aluminum Cans, Bottles

  • With at-home consumption up significantly during the last year, Republic Services offers an Earth Day reminder to properly recycle e-commerce and beverage containers

PHOENIX, April 15, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- This Earth Day, Republic Services is releasing pandemic recycling data showing significant increases in the recycling of cardboard boxes, aluminum cans and plastic and glass bottles over the last year, reflecting a shift in consumer behavior to more at-home consumption. All of these high-demand materials can be put back into the circular economy through proper recycling methods.

Experience the interactive Multichannel News Release here:

"The pandemic's effects were clearly seen in home recycling bins," said Pete Keller, vice president of recycling and sustainability. "We know that Americans are willing to recycle and are becoming more aware of their impact on the environment, so it's vital that we continue to help consumers understand what can and cannot be recycled this Earth Day and beyond."

Since the beginning of the pandemic, online shopping has risen to new heights - and those cardboard boxes have shown up in recycling bins, with a 63% increase in residential cardboard in some markets. In addition, households have been consuming more food and beverages at home, resulting in significant increases in recycled aluminum (17%), glass (13%) and plastic bottles (7%).

Organic waste, which includes food and yard waste, also experienced a major increase, as people cooked and did yard work while at home over the last year. Republic Services processed 20% more food and yard waste in 2020 and recycled this organic material into more than half a million tons of nutrient-rich compost.

Recycling is a simple way that everyone can be more sustainable in their daily lives, and it's important to know how and what to recycle. Visit for recycling tips, videos and other materials, as well as recycling curriculum for educators.

For more information about how consumers can bring Earth Day into their everyday, visit

About Republic Services

Republic Services, Inc. is a leader in the U.S. environmental services industry. Through its subsidiaries, the Company provides superior customer experience while fostering a sustainable Blue Planet® for future generations to enjoy a cleaner, safer and healthier world. For more information, visit, or follow us at, @RepublicService on Twitter or Republic Services on LinkedIn.


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