Waste and Recycling Industry Bucks National Trend in Fatalities

Waste and Recycling Industry Bucks National Trend in Fatalities

Goes From Sixth to Seventh Deadliest Industry in the Country

Arlington, VA – Today, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released 2021 figures for industry and occupational fatality data. In its 2021 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries Summary, the BLS reported that the fatality rate for refuse and recyclable material collectors fell from 33.1 per 100,000 full-time equivalents (FTE) in 2019 to 27.9 per 100,000 FTE in 2021, while the national rate for all industries increased.

“Today is an indication that our safety message is working, and we commend our members for making safety a priority. We know we still have a long way to go to bring home every worker every day. Progress like this couldn’t be made without our member companies working together toward one goal,” said National Waste & Recycling Association President and CEO Darrell Smith.

The BLS data on workplace injury and illness is published annually, and information on the waste and recycling industry is based on the U.S. Census Bureau definition of the waste and remediation services industry (NAICS Code 562111) as “solid waste collection, hazardous waste collection, other waste collection, hazardous waste treatment and disposal, solid waste landfill, solid waste combustors, and incinerators.”

NWRA will update the press release as additional information is made available from the BLS. A copy of the BLS announcement can be found at www.bls.gov.


The National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) represents the private sector waste and recycling services industry. Association members conduct business in all 50 states and include companies that manage waste, recycling and medical waste, equipment manufacturers and distributors, and a variety of other service providers. For more information about NWRA, please visit www.wasterecycling.org.

Brandon Wright
National Waste and Recycling Association