Top 13 Recycling Searches of 2013

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Photo: flickr/mosieurj

Photo: flickr/mosieurj

The results are in, and the most commonly searched material in Earth911’s Recycling Directory during 2013 was . . . aluminum beverage cans.

That’s right, the material with one of the highest recycling rates in the US (54.5 percent according to the EPA) and the most valuable material you can recycle (accounting for 40 of recycling program’s revenues, according to Alcoa) is also a material for which local recycling information is in highest demand.

With more than 10 million searches performed last year, here are the 13 most commonly searched materials in 2013:

  1. Aluminum Beverage Cans
  2. Motor Oil
  3. Christmas Trees
  4. Corrugated Cardboard
  5. Car Batteries
  6. Antifreeze
  7. Fluorescent Tubes
  8. CFLs
  9. Cell Phones
  10. Mattresses
  11. Tires
  12. Newspaper
  13. Yard Waste

Of these, three materials (aluminum cans, cardboard and newspaper) are commonly accepted in curbside programs, meaning the demand for finding local recycling information should be reduced. To be fair, all three of these are high commodity materials, meaning consumers are likely looking for a place to recycle these materials for money instead of dropping them in a curbside container.

The Impact of Search Platform

The 10 million plus searches are spread out across several search platforms, including the Earth911.com website directory, 1-800-CLEANUP toll-free hotline and iRecycle mobile applications for iOS, iPad & Android. The top 13 lists for 2013 across different search platform are not as similar as you may think.

1-800-CLEANUP

  1. Latex Paint
  2. CFLs
  3. Motor Oil
  4. Medical Sharps
  5. Fluorescent Tubes
  6. Aluminum Beverage Cans
  7. Alkaline Batteries
  8. #1 Plastic Non-Beverage Bottles
  9. Antifreeze
  10. Gas/Oil Mixture
  11. Ferrous Metals
  12. CRT Televisions
  13. Insecticides

iRecycle

  1. Alkaline Batteries
  2. Latex Paint
  3. Adult Toys
  4. #1 Plastic Bags
  5. #1 Plastic Beverage Bottles
  6. Cell Phones
  7. Car Batteries
  8. Antifreeze
  9. Branches
  10. CRT Televisions
  11. Aluminum Beverage Cans
  12. Audio Equipment
  13. Button Cell Batteries

Search.Earth911.com

  1. Aluminum Beverage Cans
  2. Motor Oil
  3. Christmas Trees
  4. Corrugated Cardboard
  5. Car Batteries
  6. Antifreeze
  7. Fluorescent Tubes
  8. CFLs
  9. Cell Phones
  10. Mattresses
  11. Tires
  12. Newspaper
  13. Yard Waste

Since the vast majority of searches occur on Earth911.com, the overall numbers are largely skewed by the website. But latex paint ranked in the top 2 for both 1-800-CLEANUP and iRecycle searches, and #18 for overall search numbers.

The only materials that ranked in the top 13 for all three platforms were aluminum beverage cans and antifreeze. Six additional materials appeared on two of the three top 13 lists.

What did you use Earth911’s Recycling Directory to recycle in 2013? Does the inclusion of any of these materials come as a surprise?

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Trey Granger

Trey Granger

Trey Granger is a former senior waste stream analyst for Earth911.
Trey Granger