Top 3 things going into landfills today

Landfill capacity is dwindling, and the amount of waste generated yearly is steadily increasing. (1)
Current landfill space in the United States is projected to reach capacity by the year 2083. (2)
What’s taking up all that space? 

    • Food waste – 24%
      Wasted food that is sent to landfill ends up rotting and producing methane, a greenhouse gas.  Landfills are the third-largest source of human-related methane emissions, accounting for around 14% of total methane emissions. (3) 
    • Plastics – 18%
      A plastic bag can take up to 20 years to decompose.  A plastic beverage bottle can take up to 450 years. (4)
      Varying rules on plastic recycling and reuse make recovery less than ideal.
    • Paper/paperboard products – 12%
      Products included in this category account for nondurable goods (newspaper, paper plates/cups, tissue paper, etc.) and containers & packaging (corrugated boxes, milk cartons, bags, etc.). (5)
      While many containers and packaging goods are recycled, lots of nondurable paper goods are currently landfilled due to food waste contamination.

Together, these three materials make up over half of all tons of municipal solid waste going to landfills – a staggering statistic when landfill space is quickly reaching its limit.  




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