There are many names for the things we throw away: garbage, trash, waste, refuse, litter, and rubbish, just to name a few. Perhaps there are so many names because of the sheer quantity we generate! Read on to learn staggering facts about the stuff we don’t care about (but maybe should)!
6 Amazing Waste Facts
1. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), recycling one ton of aluminum cans, rather than creating new cans from raw materials, saves energy equivalent to 26 barrels of oil or 1,665 gallons of gasoline!
2. Americans are among the worst waste-producers in the world; in 2012, each person in the U.S. produced an average of more than 5.5 pounds of waste each day. This equals at least one ton (2,000 pounds) of waste produced by just one person over the course of a year.
3. In 2011, containers and packaging accounted for 76 million tons of waste produced in the U.S., or about 30% of all the waste produced nationwide. To put this in perspective, 76 million tons is equal to 6.3 million school busses or 447,058 great blue whales!
4. There’s gold in your cell phone! Really! Small amounts of gold, silver, copper, and other metals are found in the electronic workings of your cell phone, smartphone, PDA, or pager. The EPA estimates that recycling one million cell phones yields roughly 24 kg (50 lbs) of gold, 250 kg (550 lbs) of silver, and more than 9,000 kg (20,000 lbs) of copper. That’s a lot of trashed cash!
5. Americans waste 33 million tons of food each year, equal to 165 billion dollars of food. It’s estimated that each American eats about 2,000 pounds (one ton) of food each year; 33 million tons of wasted food could instead feed an additional 33 million people for an entire year (or the whole country of Afghanistan in 2012)!
6. Each year, 12 billion vehicles leave the roads for good. Whether they break down, are involved in an accident, or are replaced by a newer model, these cars and trucks have to go somewhere. Luckily, instead of filling up landfills or rusting in junkyards, almost 95% of ‘trashed’ automobiles are recycled, creating a $25 billion industry!
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Photo Credit: blahedo