According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average American produces about 4.4 lbs. of garbage every day. That’s 29 lbs. per week or 1,600 lbs. per year. The United States produces approximately 220 million tons of garbage each year. This is equivalent to burying more than 82,000 football fields six feet deep in compacted garbage. This amount of trash could cover the state of Texas two and half times and also fills enough trucks to form a line to the moon.
A lot of our trash ends up being buried in a landfill. The U.S. has 3,091 active landfills and over 10,000 old municipal landfills, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Anything that goes into a landfill is covered with layers of clay and other materials that basically mummify the remains. This means that without air and water, our trash has become our archival remains for future generations. This may sound culturally resourceful, except landfills are the largest human-made methane source in the United States. Once methane is released into the air, it becomes a green house gas. And then there is the toxic leachate, or liquid that seeps and drains from a landfill, that ends up in our aquifers.
Earth 911 allows you to put in your zip code and any material you want to recycle. It will give you the phone number of the nearest facility in charge of collecting that material.
See how you can compost your own waste.