The average American tosses 4.4 pounds of trash every single day. It may not seem all that astonishing on the surface, but with 323.7 million people living in the United States, that is roughly 728,000 tons of daily garbage – enough to fill 63,000 garbage trucks.
That is 22 billion plastic bottles every year. Enough office paper to construct a 12-foot-high wall from Los Angeles to Manhattan. It is 300 laps around the equator in paper and plastic cups, forks, and spoons. It is 500 disposable cups per average American worker – cups that will still be sitting in the landfill five centuries from now.
Approximately half of the 254 million tons of yearly waste will meet its fate in one of the more than 2,000 active landfills across the country – and you probably live, work or socialize closer to one than you may think.
Read the full story at NPR.
Tom Licence has a Ph.D., and he’s a garbage man.
When you think of archaeology, you might think of Roman ruins, ancient Egypt or Indiana Jones. But Licence works in the field of “garbology.” While some may dig deep down to get to the good stuff — ancient tombs, residences, bones — Licence looks at the top layers, which, where he lives in England, are filled with Victorian-era garbage.
Studying what people threw away 150 years ago, Licence is getting to the bottom of an important issue: how much we throw away, and how to change that.
Read the full story in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
Hennepin County is digging through your trash.
A handful of men and women in hard hats and jumpsuits are sorting almost two tons of garbage in a downtown Minneapolis warehouse. The stink wafts from the Hennepin Energy Recovery Center’s tipping floor and is nauseating behind closed doors, but they’ve gotten used to it.
The sort is part of a weeklong study to figure out what people are throwing away. Or more importantly, how we can throw away less and recycle more.
Read the full story from Waste360.
About 30 New York City businesses, including big players and facilities such as Whole Foods Market, ABC, Barclays Center and Citi Field have agreed to cut the trash they send to landfills by half by June.
Read the full story and view the pictures at Waste360.
Located on the second floor of a garbage truck depot in the East Harlem neighborhood of New York City is Treasure in the Trash, a local gem created by retired NYC sanitation worker Nelson Molina. Treasure in the Trash is a gallery of NYC garbage collectibles, which includes typewriters, photographs, furniture, household items, action figures, stained glass from a church built in 1895, a Star of David made from steel from the World Trade Center and more.
Read the full story at KCBS.
There’s at least one silver lining to California’s four-year drought. In San Jose, volunteers have been able to clean out decades old garbage stuck at the bottom of dry creek beds.
Read the full story in the New York Times.
The video begins with ominous notes from a piano and an image of crime scene tape. The camera pans to men hunched over garbage pails, sifting for bottles, and a stoop-shouldered woman towing a shopping cart full of cans. Some might feel sympathy for these collectors, but the video makes clear that the New York City Sanitation Department, which made the video and posted it online, wanted them to be seen as something else: common criminals.