How Much Trash Gets Thrown Away Each Year?

March 20, 2007

I wish I had not wondered, because this is what I found out:

“Each year, the typical American family throws out 2,460 pounds of paper, 540 pounds of metals, 480 pounds of glass and 480 pounds of food scraps.

All told, each of us throws away more than 1,200 pounds of trash per year, far more than people in most other countries.”

How is that possible? 2,460 pounds of paper? Ha, we know where that comes from, the junk mail that comes to your house even if you don’t want it. 80 percent of what is thrown away gets put into landfills, which makes it of no use to anyone but the earth, who really doesn’t want it. The other 20% is split in 2; 10% gets recycled and 10% gets incinerated. 10% is recycled? That’s a sad percentage!

Want some more statistics on trash? I know you do:

The amount of wood and paper we throw away each year is enough to heat 50 million homes for 20 years.

Each gallon of gas used by a car contributes about 19 pounds of carbon-dioxide into the atmosphere. For a single car driving 1,000 miles a month, that adds up to 120 tons of carbon-dioxide a year.

About 110 million Americans live in areas with levels of air pollutants the federal government considers to be harmful.

Americans dump 16 tons of sewage into their waters — every minute of every day.

Americans throw away 25 billion Styrofoam coffee cups every year, and 2.5 million plastic beverage bottles every hour.

Americans throw away about 40 billion soft drink cans and bottles every year. Placed end to end, they would reach to the moon and back nearly 20 times.

Eighty-four percent of a typical household’s waste — including food scraps, yard waste, paper, cardboard, cans, and bottles — can be recycled.

Using recycled paper for one print run of the Sunday edition of The New York Times would save 75,000 trees.

America’s refrigerators use about 7 percent of the nation’s total electricity consumption–the output of about 25 large power plants.

Source: News 8 Austin

Filed in: Recycling • Tags:

About the Author:

After a varied past of being a test driver for automotive television programs, a Hollywood studio lackey, and an online media sales director, David is now the publisher and editor of The Good Human. In his spare time he rides motorcycles, drinks good beer, and builds stuff in the garage. You can follow him on Twitter at @thegoodhuman or G+ at Google
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