April 19, 2005

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Garbage Facts
Garbage Links
Garbage Home
Garbage Facts Title
What's in Garbage?
How much garbage do we make?
How do you sort Garbage?
Where does garbage go?
What can you do with garbage?
Incredible Facts
Garbage can
     The typical American throws away about five pounds of trash a day, according to the Environmental Protection Agency*. That adds up to about 200 million tons of American garbage a year!
     Americans are making waste products faster than nature can break them down and we are using up resources faster than they can be replaced.
     This adds up to trouble for the environment. Where does all that garbage go? What's in my garbage? What can be done to help dispose of garbage? How can I make less garbage?
* The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the government agency that helps communities across the country make sure that their garbage is managed safely.
     Soda CansGarbage isn't just the smelly rotting fruits, vegetables or meat that we throw away in our homes. That's only a small part of all the stuff we throw away. We create more waste that we never see; for example, construction, mining, or factory waste.      
      40% of our trash is paper, 17.5% is yard waste, 8.5% is metals, 8% is plastic, 7.5% is food waste, 7% is glass and 11.5% is everything else. Look at these statistics from one county...
That's a lot, but it's only the tip of the iceberg....

     Did you ever wonder what happens after you set your garbage can out on the curb?  Most of our garbage is incinerated or buried in landfills. Less than a quarter of our waste is recycled.

     A landfill is not just a huge mound of trash. A sanitary landfill is carefully planned, built, managed and monitored to protect a community from the dangers of decomposing garbage. Explore "What is a sanitary landfill" and piece together your own landfill.
Follow the garbage from the can to the landfill.....Visit How does a landfill work? for pictures and explanation of the various features of a landfill. Garbage Truck
Question MarksWhale in a polluted seaWhat is Hazardous Waste? Do you have any in your home? Take the hazardous waste quiz...
How do we handle sewage, or wastewater, disposal?
FactThe average baby generates a ton (2000 pounds!) of garbage every year,
and then, as an adult, creates 5-6 pounds of trash per day.
What can you do to help
     Make less trash in the first place! This would reduce the amount of natural resources needed to make the materials and eliminate environmental, economic, and public health problems. Seventy percent (70%) of landfilled waste could be reused or recycled.

Man with Full BagsRECYCLING

     Recycling takes valuable materials out of trash and creates other products that we can use. The EPA says that recycling also helps conserve natural resources, reduce landfilling, saves energy and prevents pollution.

     Become an expert at sorting...Can you recycle styrofoam or light bulbs?

     Find out at this Master List of Recycling and Disposal (check your local recycling center for its rules and regulations,

Put Waste in its Place
Take a quiz to see how much you know about sorting garbage

Think of new uses for something before you throw it away.
Travel to Recycle City to investigate hundreds of ways a whole town can reduce, reuse, and recycle.


What you can do

A to Z about helping

How worms can help...

Learn with Vermi the Worm

Build a worm bin.

Try composting

FactIn the United States, we use enough office paper each year to build a 10-foot-high wall that's 6,815 miles long or... two and a half times the distance from New York to Los Angeles.
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, "Recycling Facts and Figures," PUBL CE-163, 2002
Can garbage power your home? You bet...
    At waste-to-energy (WTE) plants, trash is burned in a special way to create energy. The energy is sold to electric companies, which distribute it to local homes and businesses. Check it out!
FactWhen you buy products made from recycled materials, you help conserve precious resources and eliminate waste from landfills.

Broken ComputerDid you know...
   ... in 2005, more than 65 million personal computers will become obsolete?

Did you know..
computer components contain lead, mercury, cadmium, chromium and other hazardous materials?

Did you know...
... some computer manufacturers have recycling programs?

Did you know ...
  Idaho Department of Environmental Quality has a website about electronic waste, or e-waste?

Take a peek at Recycling in Idaho and Idaho's Online Recycling Directory

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