Some really amazing figures on solid waste, via the Clean Air Council, including:
Only about one-tenth of all solid garbage in the United States gets recycled.
In the U.S., 4.39 pounds of trash per day and up to 56 tons of trash per year are created by the average person. [Since this is garbage night and this stat got me curious, I actually weighed our garbage tonight before taking it to the curb – a total of 2.5 lbs for a family of 3 – the rest was recycled or composted.]
Diapers: An average child will use between 8,000 -10,000 disposable diapers ($2,000 worth) before being potty trained. Each year, parents and babysitters dispose of about 18 billion of these items. In the United States alone these single-use items consume nearly 100,000 tons of plastic and 800,000 tons of tree pulp. We will pay an average of $350 million annually to deal with their disposal and, to top it off, these diapers will still be in the landfill 300 years from now. Americans throw away 570 diapers per second. That’s 49 million diapers per day.
Throwing away one aluminum can wastes as much energy as if that can were 1/2 full of gasoline.
Americans receive almost 4 million tons of junk mail every year. Most of it winds up in landfills.
As of 1992, 14 billion pounds of trash were dumped into ocean annually around the world.
Forty-three thousand tons of food is thrown out in the United States each day.
Each American exerts three times as much pressure on the natural environment as the global average.
People who change their own oil improperly dump the equivalent of 16 Exxon Valdez spills into the nation’s sewers and landfills every year.
… more at the site.