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Solid WasteBulldozing trash at a landfill

Did you Know...

If all junk mail was eliminated in the US, each year we’d save more than 100 million trees, 28 billion gallons of water, and enough energy to run 2.8 million cars (41pounds.org)

Western civilization generates a lot of waste, all of which needs to be thrown away. But where is “away”, anyway? In the United States, 55% of municipal solid waste ends up in landfills, where the near absolute absence of oxygen and microorganisms drastically slows the process of biodegradation. Some materials, such as plastic, may take thousands of years to break down in a landfill.

You might think that over the years, the tenet “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” has resulted in a reduction of the amount of trash Americans throw away. In fact, on a per capita basis, we generated the same amount of municipal solid waste in 2005 as we did in 1990. It’s not that we aren’t recycling: curb side recycling programs have made recycling the most successful environmental movement in history and in 2007, we recycled or composted about 33% of our municipal solid waste.

As a nation, we could certainly recycle more, but the real problem is that we haven’t embraced the principles of “Reduce” and “Reuse”. While the average American produces 4.5 pounds of municipal solid waste each day, Germans and Swedes produce only 2 pounds/person/day. These numbers are proof that we can dramatically reduce the conversion of natural resources into trash without sacrificing our quality of life.

To learn more about the environmental impacts of household solid waste and the products that comprise it, and how you can reduce your contribution to the problem, use the links below to schedule a presentation.


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