This report describes the national municipal solid waste (MSW) stream based on data collected for 1960 through 2011. The historical perspective is useful for establishing trends in types of MSW generated and in the ways it is managed. In this Executive Summary, we briefly describe the methodology used to characterize MSW in the United States and provide the latest facts and figures on MSW generation, recycling, and disposal. In the United States, we generated 250 million tons of MSW in 2011--six million tons less than generated in 2007, which was a peak year for waste generation. Excluding composting, 66.2 million tons of MSW were recycled, an increase of 3 million tons from 2007. This is a 5 percent increase in recycling of MSW. The tons of food waste and yard trimmings recovered for composting were 20.7 million tons in 2011 compared to 21.7 million tons in 2007. This is a 5 percent decrease in food waste and yard trimmings recovered for composting. The recovery rate for recycling (including composting) was 34.7 percent in 2011, up from 33.1 percent in 2007.