Pollution and Wastes

What are the components of municipal solid waste?

Municipal solid waste consists of things we commonly use and then throw away; such as paper and packaging, food scraps, yard waste and large household items, including old sofas, appliances, and computers. It does not include industrial, hazardous, or construction waste. The distribution of the municipal solid waste generated in 2008 is illustrated below:

Waste Product Weight (millions of tons) Percent of Total
Paper and paperboard 77.4 31.0
Yard wastes 32.9 13.2
Food scraps 31.8 12.7
Plastics 30.0 12.0
Metals 20.9 8.4
Rubber, leather, and textiles 19.8 7.9
Wood 16.4 6.6
Glass 12.2 4.9
Other wastes 8.0 3.3


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