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40 Reasons to Think Differently About Your Trash: Facts, Statistics, & More

Updated: Aug 12, 2019

No one's really talking about the greatest worldwide issue? Trash.

New mindsets come with a fresh year... fresh goals... new activities. Because of this, I believed that talking facts would be a nice time. Nothing subjective... just up-to-date facts about waste and waste.

Below are some important waste facts and statistics that will hopefully encourage you to think a little differently about how our people are disposing of their garbage.

1. The average resident of the United States produces more than 4 pounds of garbage a day and up to 56 tons of garbage a year.

2. Americans make up about 5% of the world's inhabitants, but they produce almost 40% of the world's complete waste.

3. The U.S. generates enough trash on a weekly basis to fill 63,000 garbage trucks.

4. It would cover half the distance to the moon or ~119,450 miles if each garbage truck we filled (annually) was positioned end-to-end.

5. Every year, the average college student generates 640 pounds of solid waste, including about 500 disposable cups and 320 pounds of paper.

6. The average American will leave 90,000 pounds of waste for future generations in a lifetime.

7. Today, most communities are spending more on waste management than they are for schoolbooks, fire protection, libraries, and parks.

8. Globally, enough hazardous waste is generated each year to fill over 1,500 times the New Orleans Superdome.

9. Residents of New York City throw out every day enough trash to fill the entire Empire State Building.

10. The only relatively “clean” place on Earth is Antarctica. It is protected by the Antarctic Treaty, which prohibits military activities, mineral mining, nuclear explosions and nuclear waste disposal.

11. The amount of office paper wasted each year in the state of Massachusetts is enough to fill Fenway Park to the height of the Prudential Building (920 feet high).

12. Nearly one-third of the waste produced annually in the United States comes from the packaging of products.

13. Approximately 8,000-10,000 disposable diapers are used and thrown away before a potty-trained average kid.

14. Every year, potty training in the United States accounts for the use of 18 billion disposable diapers per year, 49 million per day, and 570 per second.

15. The cost of disposal of diapers amounts to $350 million per year.

16. Three hundred years after they were placed there, disposable diapers will still be in the landfill.

17. Americans throw out enough plastic cutlery (disposable cups, forks, spoons, and knives) annually to wrap around the equator 300 times, or 7,470,435 miles worth.

25. Americans dispose of about 43,000 tons of meat every day.

26. Each American casts out about 1,200 pounds of organic trash that can be repurposed as compost.

27. Roughly one-third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year (approximately 1.3 billion tons) is wasted.

28. Latin America: The food currently lost or wasted could feed ~300 million people.

29. Europe: The food currently or wasted could feed ~200 million people.

30. Africa: The food currently lost or wasted could feed ~300 million people.

31. If one-fourth of the food currently lost or wasted globally could be saved, it would be enough to feed roughly 870 million people.

32. Annually, more than 14 billion pounds of garbage is dumped into the world’s ocean (mainly marine life toxic plastic).

33. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, or Pacific trash vortex, is a collection of marine debris in the North Pacific Ocean. According to some estimates, the patch can be as large as twice the size of the US and would take 67 ships one year to clean up less than 1% of the garbage mass.

34. Almost half of all seabird species, 22% of cetaceans, all sea turtle species, and a growing list of fish species have been documented with plastic found in or around their bodies.

35. More than 50 million tonnes of electronic waste are produced each year (i.e. cell phones, computers, TVs, etc.).

36. More than 140 million cell phones are thrown into landfills each year in the United States alone.

37. If all U.S. cell phones were recycled in a specified year, ~25,000 families would save enough energy for one year.

38. Recycling one million laptops saves 3,657 American homes energy equivalent.

39. Only 12.5% of e-waste in the US is recycled, according to the EPA.

40. Annually, Americans throw out ancient phones with gold and/or silver in excess of $60 million.

For more facts on water and ocean pollution, check out our blog “Ocean Pollution: 14 Facts That Will Blow Your Mind“.

1 Dumpster Rentals is dedicated to helping keep Toledo, and the rest of the world just a little more clean.


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