Environment and Ecology

Environmental Challenges

How much garbage does the average American generate?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, in 2010 (to date, the latest figures), Americans generated about 250 million tons of trash and recycled and composted over 85 million tons of this material, equivalent to a 34.1 percent recycling rate. On average, they recycled and composted 1.51 pounds out of our individual waste generation of 4.43 pounds per person per day. In general, the total amount of waste is distributed as follows: Paper and paperboard (38 percent); yard waste (12.1 percent); food wastes (10.9 percent); plastics (10.5 percent); metals (7.8 percent); glass (5.5 percent); wood (5.3 percent); textiles (3.9 percent); other waste (3.2 percent); rubber and leather (2.7 percent).

The symbol for recycled or recyclable products is now very familiar to almost everyone. Numbers are added to this symbol to indicate different types of plastics.


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