MSW Characterization

Large stacked bales of compacted trash

Project Brief

Each year, Americans generate over 250 million tons of municipal solid waste. We recover about 34 percent for recycling or composting, leaving the rest for disposal through combustion with energy recovery or landfilling. Franklin Associates, a division of ERG, has measured and characterized MSW in the United States for more than 30 years. Each characterization study analyzes the quantity and composition of MSW materials and products and trends in MSW management. From ERG’s work, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency publishes a series of reports titled Advancing Sustainable Materials Management: Facts and Figures. These data are invaluable for solid waste planning and are used extensively by the public and private sectors.


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency