Garbage In, Garbage Out

What are Americans throwing away?

The U.S. produces more than 236 million tons of trash—or about 1,640 pounds of waste per person—per year. That’s a lot of garbage. What exactly are we throwing away? The truth may surprise you. It turns out the poster child for recycling—the soda can—is barely a drop in the bucket, whereas Tree Enemy Number One (paper, duh) is being disposed of at a level that’s criminal. And check out what else we found while sorting through the rubble.


35% Paper
24% Organic waste (food scraps and yard trimmings)
3.6% Furniture and furnishings
3.1% Clothing and footwear
1.5% Disposable diapers
1.2% Consumer electronics
0.6% Beer and soft drink cans
0.4% Trash bags

Issue 25

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