Landfill Statistics in the U.S… Staggering

Landfills are at all-time capacity levels.  Here are some hard facts that should get you in the recycle mode!

*   Americans generate 250 million tons of garbage a year, and some reports show over 400 million tons.
*   Since 1960, America has tripled the amount of waste we generate!
*   Only about 1/10th of all solid garbage in the U.S. gets recycled.
*   EVERY DAY, the U.S. throws away enough trash to fill 63,000 garbage trucks.
*   Almost 1/3rd of waste generated in the U.S. is packaging—unnecessary.
*   Each year, Americans toss out enough disposable utensils and cups to circle the equator 300 times.
*   In Tracy’s hometown, the highest elevation is visible above the tallest trees from Main Street. In the state of Ohio, the highest point is Mount Rumpke, at over 1000 feet. Both of these “mountains” are not mountains at all, they are literally mounds of trash. The landfill, the dump. Have you seen (or smelled) yours lately?
*   The U.S. has 3,091 active landfills and over 10,000 old municipal landfills, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, all of which create hazardous air emissions (methane) and eventually leach into the ground water.
*   In March, 2000 it was reported that 82% of surveyed landfill cells had leaks.
*   Since 2003, recycling has reduced the amount of trash thrown away in the US by 32% (approx. 79 million tons per year) which is good news; however, Americans are also consuming more and more, and packaging has increased on all products, so the net effect is minimal.
*   As of 1992, 14 billion pounds of trash were dumped into the ocean annually around the world.

*   There is a plastic island twice the size of Texas in the Pacific ocean, created from our waste.
*   Enough hazardous waste is generated in 12 months to fill the New Orleans Superdome 1,500 times over!

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12 Responses to Landfill Statistics in the U.S… Staggering

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  2. Glynis V. says:

    Actually, because I’m working on a series of articles on recycling for an Ohio newspaper, the highest point in Ohio is Campbell Hill at 1549 ft. in central Ohio. Mt. Rumpke is 1100 ft,, the highest point in Hamilton County.

    • Verde Mom says:

      Gynis, thank you for the clarification! The landfills are growing, and our statistics were done several years ago, so we expect many of them have gotten worse. Unfortunate, but true. Keep thinking outside the bin!


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  10. Nikita says:

    Hi! I was wondering if I could use these statistics for a zine I’m making for a zero waste non-profit I volunteer for! I’d write a link to your site on the bottom 🙂 Thank you!

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