Portions Reprinted from Bloomberg Green, February 26, 2021
We cavalierly use the term "Throw it away" whenever thinking about household and other waste. So.....WHERE IS "AWAY"??
As U.S. cities struggle to rein in garbage while propping up pricey recycling efforts, more companies are profiting from America’s growing waste problem and leaving local communities to face the environmental consequences. Our waste fails to get recycled about 68% of the time.At 4.9 pounds of trash per person, per day, the U.S. is the most wasteful country on the planet. Of the 292.4 million tons of refuse Americans generated in 2018, half was buried in landfills while another 32% was recycled or composted, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The rest was burned (the preferred term being “combusted”) to generate electricity.
Since China stopped importing U.S. recyclables in 2017, cities have been scrambling to find new markets for plastics and other materials that would typically be repurposed, said Mike Ewall, a Philadelphia-based environmental activist and executive director of the Energy Justice Network. For many urban centers, recycling just became too expensive. “It sent the whole market into a tailspin,” he said. “Until our domestic recycling system catches up, there’s just nowhere for plastics to go.”
As waste generation grows, landfills remain the primary form of disposal for municipal solid waste
Private companies now own more than half of the 1,280 remaining U.S. landfills, effectively controlling 75% of all garbage disposed in the U.S. Meanwhile, of the remaining 580 (roughly a third of all locations) landfills owned by municipalities, 300 will close over the next decade as they reach capacity.
We're swiftly running out of places to put our garbage. Some of it has begun going to rural areas, poisoning the soils and aquifers. We can help by upcycling, recycling, reducing, and reusing. MAKE A DIFFERENCE, no matter how small. Anything you can do at a personal level will help!!