How Much Trash Do Americans Produce?

In 2010, Americans produced an average of 250 tons of trash — about 4.4 pounds (2 kg) per person — every day, although 34% of that was either recycled or composted. About 27% of the waste that Americans produce is made up of food scraps or landscaping trimmings. In 1960, Americans produced an average of 2.7 pounds (1.22 kg) of trash per person each day, although recycling was less common. Recycling efforts, such as curbside collection of recyclable trash, have increased significantly since then. These efforts vary by region, however, and some areas of the US have fewer recycling opportunities than others.

More about trash and recycling:

  • In the United Kingdom, the amount of trash collected and sent to landfills decreased by 8.8% between fiscal years 2009-10 and 2010-11.

  • One study showed that about 40% of the food in the United States goes to waste.

  • As of 2012, Americans used about 1 billion shopping bags per year.

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40 percent food waste: terrible. My wife and I are getting involved with local food stores to divert food headed to dumpsters. All you need is documentation (release) they can sign and things move along more smoothly. Food shelters exist in most cities.-- Fletch

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