The Trash Problem
The EPA reports that in 2012 Americans disposed of about 251 million tons of solid waste; that’s almost 4.5 pounds per person per day. A little more than a third of this waste was recycled or composted, leaving 164 million tons to go to landfills and incinerators.
All that trash began as life-supporting raw materials. Once it hits the landfill or incinerator most of those resources are no longer useable by us, so we need to mine or harvest more. Disposable plastics require the extraction of ever more petroleum products, at a mounting fiscal and environmental cost. Disposable paper products accelerate the pace of deforestation.