This report describes the national municipal solid waste (MSW) stream based on data collected for 1960 through 2005. 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 approximately 245.7 million tons of MSW in 2005a decrease of 1.6 million tons from 2004. Excluding composting, the amount of MSW recycled increased to 58.4 million tons, an increase of 1.2 million tons from 2004. This is a 2 percent increase in the tons recycled. The tons recovered for composting rose slightly to 20.6 million tons in 2005, up from 20.5 million tons in 2004. The recovery rate for recycling (including composting) was 32.1 percent in 2005, up from 31.4 percent in 2004. MSW generation in 2005 declined to 4.54 pounds per person per day. This is a decrease of 1.5 percent from 2004 to 2005. The recycling rate in 2005 was 1.46 pounds per person per day. Discards sent to a landfill after recycling declined to 2.46 pounds per person per day in 2005.