According to the EPA, the Environmental Protection Agency, in 2006 Americans generated 251 million tons of trash. That translates to a per capita trash disposal rate of 4.6 pounds per person, per day. In details, 65% came from residences, while 35% came from schools and commercial locations such as hospitals and businesses.
The big question is, where does it all end up? 55% gets buried in landfills, 33% gets recycled, and 12.5% goes to incinerators. As you can imagine, collecting and transporting trash and recyclables is a huge task. Here are some very interesting data: According to the National Solid Waste Management Association, the solid waste industry employs tons of people, an estimate of 368,000 folks. Beside the man labor, they use 148,000 vehicles to move garbage to 1,754 landfills and 87 incinerators. They also pick up recyclables at curbside in 8,660 communities and take them to 545 materials recovery facilities for sorting. As you can see, solid waste is big business of about $47 billion in annual revenue.
Trashing the environment
The amount of litter that ends up spoiling the beauty of the natural environment. It is not surprising considering the amount of waste we produce. Glass bottles, plastic packaging, tin cans, newspaper, cardboard, and other types of garbage spoil urban and rural landscapes everywhere. Paper products alone account for over 40% of all garbage thrown away. Sometimes the wind blows trash from overloaded garbage cans or private cars and messes up the environment. Based on that, it’s important to use a car trash bag in your car. Instead of using disposable plastic bags, get a high-quality one that can be cleaned on a regular basis. A high-quality car litter bag will last a long time. Using less disposable stuff creates less garbage and thus pollution for the environment. Because of its nature, trash can last for a long time depending on the disintegration of the garbage. For example, aluminum cans do not disintegrate, and some plastics take decades to break down.
How trash threatens wildlife
Trash can be very harmful to wildlife. Discarded fishing lines can trap the legs, wings or neck of waterfowl such as swans or moorhens. An even worse scenario, a fishhook may get stuck in a bird’s throat that can cause choking and eventual death. Water birds suffer lead poisoning when they accidentally swallow small lead fishing weights. That is not the end; broken glass can cut the feet of foxes, coyotes, or badgers, and unbroken bottles present a hazard to various small animals. Lizards often crawl inside bottles or cans to get warmth, to seek protection or search for food. But the issue is, they may find it difficult to crawl out again and can die of overheating. Small mammals in search of food often get their heads caught in the openings of jars. Because of that, please remember to place lids on bottles and jars before discarding can help prevent animals from becoming entrapped. Birds, fish, and mammals may get ensnared by plastic six-pack holders. There is a simple way to prevent this, cut up the plastic rings so that they do not become traps.
Recycling is good for you and the environment
Recycling avoids many of these tragedies. When you recycle something, the item is sorted and used to make similar items. Aluminum cans, for example, contain about 41%recycled aluminum. In addition, it takes 95% less energy to make a can from recycled aluminum than from virgin bauxite ore, the main core raw material. On top of that, the manufacturer creates fewer greenhouse gasses. In addition, recycling also reduces climate change emissions from incinerators and landfills. “Recycling is truly a win-win situation in terms of global warming pollution,” said Allen Hershkowitz, a senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council and director of its national solid waste project.