Landfills: We're Running Out of Space

Landfills: We're Running Out of Space

 

Let's talk trash... in fact about 258 million tons worth, because that's how much is created every year in the United States. While creating waste is inevitable, we wanted to share some interesting facts about waste generation and how you can reduce the amount you send to landfill. Read on to learn more and feel free to leave a comment below to let us know what you think!

 

It's estimated that Americans recycle 34% of the waste they create, which means that 66% is sent to one of the thousand active landfills across the country. Each passing year, the amount of waste sent to landfill significantly increases, and the numbers are only predicted to rise in the future. In the 60's, the average person produced 2.28 pounds of waste a day, which increased to 4.40 pounds in 2013. And although industry experts estimate that almost half the states throughout the U.S. will have space for a couple more decades, some will run out in as little as 5 years.

 

Not only are we running out of room, but there are negative health and economic consequences to piling our trash into landfills. Air and water pollution threaten human and environmental health. Tipping fees, which are fees for disposing waste in landfills, continue to rise as waste production increases. It's much more expensive to send waste to landfill or incinerate it than it is to recycle it.

 

Breakdown of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW)

PAPER & PAPERBOARD (29%)

A single sheet of paper can be repurposed 5-7 times.

Plastic Products (12%)

Around 91% of plastic isn't recycled, meaning 6.3 billion tons live in landfill.

Food &
Yard Waste
(27%)

The average person could compost 1,200 pounds of organic waste.

Containers / Packaging (30%)

Nearly a third of waste in landfill consists of packaging materials.

Even though landfilling is the most popular form of waste disposal, there are many more efficient and easy ways to manage waste. Composting, recycling and reusing are practices to reduce the amount of trash we send to landfill! You can start by recycling the four most landfilled items: paper, food scraps, plastics and packaging. Let us know in the comments below how you manage your waste, or reach out to us here if you need help getting started.