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Every time we throw away something that could be reused or recycled, every time we purchase something with “disposable” packaging; we are most likely sending that waste to a landfill. At the rate we Americans consume things, I imagine landfills taking over the planet in the not-so-distant future. Here are ten eye-opening facts and statistics that might make you think twice before you toss that trash.

  1. Consulting-LandfillsReports show that Americans generate between 250 and 400 million tons of garbage each year–all of which requires landfill space.
  2. The amount of waste generated has tripled since 1960.
  3. The United States has the highest amount of waste generated per person of any country at an average of 4.6 lbs. per day or 1,609 lbs. per year. This means that 5% of the world’s people generate 40% of the world’s waste.
  4. Only around 1/10 of solid garbage in the United States is recycled each year.
  5. The United States has over 3,000 active landfills and over 10,000 “old” landfills. All of these create hazardous gas and could be a danger to groundwater.
  6. Aluminum can be recycled innumerable times with no loss of quality, yet only a small fraction of cans are recycled.
  7. Out of every $10 spent buying things, $1 (10%) goes for packaging that is thrown away. Packaging represents about 65% of household trash.
  8. An average American throws away around 1,200 pounds of waste each year that could be composted and kept out of the landfill.
  9. On average, it costs $30 per ton to recycle trash, $50 to send it to the landfill, and $65-75 to incinerate it.
  10. While recycling is increasing each year, so is consumption — reducing consumption while increasing recycling is the key to reducing landfill usage.

The statistics/facts above were gathered from the following sources: