Showing all posts tagged: recycling
Edward Humes was interviewed by Stephen Dubner at the Freakonomics blog, as a result of Humes new book, Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair With Trash. I have garbage-picked some juicy factoids:
- American communities spend more on waste management than on fire protection, parks and recreation, libraries, or schoolbooks.
- The single largest component of trash going into landfills today is packaging and containers — instant trash that could be recycled, but isn’t.
- Making energy out of trash is a far less wasteful alternative — which is why Germany, for example, recycles 66 percent of its trash, makes energy out of the rest, and landfills virtually none. By contrast, America sends 69 percent to landfills, 25 percent to recycling, and the little left over to energy plants.
- The average American is making twice as much trash today as in 1960.
- Wal-Mart has cut its landfilling 80 percent, and between recycling, composting, and systematic reduction in packaging, the company has turned trash into revenue stream instead of a cost.
- They [plastic grocery bags] are 100 percent recyclable with the right equipment, but the cost of doing so exceeds the price anyone is willing to pay for the reclaimed polymers; only about 5 percent actually get recycled.
- Right now, 85 billion pieces of taxpayer-subsidized junk mail are clogging our mailboxes every year — representing one out of every 100 pounds of trash Americans send to the landfill.
- The amount of disposable plastics that find their way into the world’s oceans is approximately 4 million tons every year.
- California has the most robust container deposit law in the country. It also has the highest recycling rate.