EPA's Report on Municipal Waste
Plastic Waste Not Being Recycled
- Of all waste products, plastics were the least likely to be recycled in 2005
- Only 5.7% of all plastic waste was recycled in 2005
- Americans produced 28.9 million tons of plastic waste in 2005
Americans are producing significantly more trash each day than they did in the 1960's.
- In 2005, each person produced an average of 4.54 pounds of trash each day
- In 1960, each person produced an average of 2.68 pounds of trash each day
- In 2005, approximately 2.46 pounds of trash per person per day went to landfills
- In 1960, approximately 2.51 pounds of trash per person per day went to landfills
- Do we produce more trash each day because we know that some of it will be recycled?
- Does that make it okay? Especially when you factor in population growth?
- What additional factors are causing us to produce so much more trash per person now than we did in the 1960's?
- What can we do to get back to 1960's levels of waste production?
The Bad News
- Americans produced a total of 254.7 million tons of garbage in 2005 (of the amount generate, 58.4 million tons were recycled; 20.6 million tons were composted; and 33.4 million tons were burned with energy recovered).
- 133.3 million tons of that garbage ended up in landfills
- Americans produced less garbage in 2005 than in 2004, and sent 2.2 million tons less garbage to landfills.