Twenty Fun Facts About Garbage

fun facts

Here are 20 facts about garbage that are likely to surprise you. You may never look at your trash the same way again!

  • More Than 100 Tons of Waste for Every American: The average American throws away more than 7 pounds of garbage a day. That’s 102 tons in a lifetime, more than any other populations on Earth.
  • Bottled Water Is the “Grandfather of Wasteful Industries.” Edward Humes, author of the book “Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash,” counts bottled water among the most wasteful of industries. In the US, Americans toss 60 million water bottles daily, which is nearly 700 each minute.
  • Food Waste Is a Problem Too: Americans throw away 28 billion pounds of food a year, which is about 25 percent of the US food supply.
  • Disposables Are a Drain: Ten percent of the world’s oil supply is used to make and ship disposable plastics – items like plastic utensils, plates, and cups that are used just one time and thrown away.
  • Trash Is Expensive: Most communities spend more to deal with trash than they spend for schoolbooks, fire protection, libraries, and parks.
  • Carpet Waste Alone Is Astounding: Americans throw away 5.7 million tons of carpet every year.
  • Paper Waste Is a Shame: Americans waste 4.5 million tons of office paper a year. Ask yourself… do I really need to print that?
  • Opting Out of Junk Mail Makes a Difference: According to Humes, the energy used to create and distribute junk mail in the US for one day could heat 250,000 homes. You can opt-out of junk mail by going to CatalogChoice.org.
  • Too Many Toys: Only 4 percent of the world’s children live in the US, but Americans buy (and throw away) 40 percent of the world’s toys. Buy less toys, opt for second-hand versions, and pass down the toys you do purchase to others.
  • Plastic Bags: On average, Americans use 500 plastic bags per capita each year. Such bags make up the second most common type of garbage found on beaches. Stash reusable shopping bags in your purse or car so you’re not tempted by plastic or paper.
  • Coffee Conundrum: The average American office worker uses about 500 disposable cups every year.
  • Pitch the Plastic: Every year, Americans throw away enough paper and plastic cups, forks, and spoons to circle the equator 300 times.
  • Happy Holidays?: The estimated 2.6 billion holiday cards sold each year in the US could fill a football field 10 stories high.
  • It’s the Most Wasteful Time of the Year: Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, an extra million tons of waste is generated each week.
  • It’s a Wrap: 38,000 miles of ribbon are thrown away each year, enough to tie a bow around the Earth.
  • Bottled Water Waste: US landfills contain about 2 million tons of discarded water bottles, each of which will take more than 1,000 years to biodegrade.
  • Bags, Bags, Bags: On a worldwide scale, each year about 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are used worldwide. At over 1 million bags per minute, that’s a lot of plastic bags, of which billions end up as litter each year, contaminating oceans and other waterways.
  • Going Green: Organic landfill waste has increased by 50 percent per capita since 1974.
  • Yard Waste Use: Since 1993, 1.6 million tons of yard and wood debris have been converted into premium quality organic compost and mulches, along with recycled lumber, firewood, and biofuel used to generate electricity.
  • Less is Sometimes More: While the number of landfills in the US has been decreasing in recent decades, they have, individually, been increasing in size.

 

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