Spending Billions on Garbarge
American trash. No, not the culture that many foreign countries consider to be satanic or bad, but literally our waste. No, not the sewer type, the consumerism type that most developed countries also face. Think of the problem- think China. Think the millions\billions of people there, each a consumer, each buying things of plastic, synthetic, wood, metal. Think how these items will end up when it has been used and discarded. America is just another problem.
Each American tosses out four - seven pounds of trash daily, on average, or 102 tons, during the average life span. While China's #1 export to the US are computers, the US #1 export to China is scrap rubber and metal\cardboard. America alone tosses out 40 billion plastic items, 28 billion pounds of food waste, enough steel to flatten Manhattan and then rebuild it and enough plastic shrink wrap to bundle up Texas annually. Studies show that if a person tosses out five pounds of trash daily, only a third of it is recycled, the rest end in a landfill. In Europe, they recycle nearly all of the trash and then what they do not is burned to create electricity.
American towns and cities spend more on getting rid of their trash than on public services. In NYC, it spends $2.2 billion on it, of which, $300,000 is the cost just to move the city's 12,000 tons of trash a day to out of state landfills that are 300 miles away! This amount of daily waste amounts to 62 747 Jets. And remember, this is just ONE major urban city. What does Los Angeles do?
L.A. has Puente Hills (near Whittier). This is a landfill that rises 500 ft. high and 700 acres contains waste from as far back as 60 years ago. This landfill produces a lot of methane gas that is gathered and pumped into generators to provide power to 70,000 homes. The L.A. site is home to 33% of the Los Angeles trash. While this landfill site is America's second largest, there are 1900 other smaller landfill sites across the nation. Germany has no landfills at all. Most other European countries only put 4% of their trash in them. America's biggest landfill is near Las Vegas, the Apex Regional Landfill north of Vegas currently receives 9,000 tons a day. In 2007, it was getting more like 15,000 tons a day. At 2,200 acres, it has enough room to keep pulling in waste at this pace for 200 years.
So, the next time you toss out the trash, think about what happens to it afterwards. Kinda scary!
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