Trash. It’s everywhere we look, and no matter how hard we try it’s almost impossible not to produce some form of waste during the day. Unfortunately, all of this waste easily adds up and leads to one polluted world.
Chances are, once you throw your garbage into the bin you don’t give it a second thought. This is true for most people, but it’s incredibly important to think consciously about what your own personal trash is doing to the environment. Here are some interesting facts about waste management that may help you get thinking a bit more about what one person can do to help clean up the world.
- The average American creates and throws away about seven pounds of trash each and every day. On a nationwide scale, this is enough waste to fill 63,000 waste management trucks daily, which creates enough garbage every year that if you lined the number of trucks up we would reach halfway to the moon.
- There’s two kinds of trash: non-biodegradable and biodegradable. Biodegradable trash will break down into the soil, unlike its non-organic counterpart. The organic materials found in biodegradable trash make up the largest component of municipal solid waste, followed by paper and cardboard, and yard trimmings and food.
- The amount of food waste Americans produce is astounding — every year, each American creates about 106 pounds of food waste per year. Unfortunately, only 4% of this is composted and the rest ends up in landfills and our waterways.
- Americans throw away around 28 billion bottles and other plastic materials a year. This is equivalent to tossing 25,000,000 plastic bottles in the garbage each and every hour. What’s worse is that these plastic bottles don’t decompose and on average spend around 450 years in a landfill.
- One of the most commonly thrown away items is carpet. Americans toss 5.7 million tons of carpet and their corresponding materials to landfills every year. With this in mind, maybe it’s worth it to switch to hardwood floors.
- Culturally, we like to throw away our toys. Even though American children only make up about 4% of the world’s youth population, their parents and caregivers toss about 40% of the world’s toys right into the garbage.
We hope these trash facts have got you thinking, and that hopefully next time you go to throw something away, you choose the recycling bin instead!