How much waste do Americans generate?

Why refuse, reduce, reuse, repurpose, recycle by ecokaren

I’ve always said there should not be an “Earth Day”. April 22nd has been designated as this special day but I think you’d agree that it should not be the only day when you take extra care for the planet. And one of the biggest reasons for this is how much waste we create on a daily basis. So when you are trying to do the ‘right’ thing, how can you do it on just one day? We need to make an effort to reduce waste every day.

How much waste do Americans generate?

According to EPA.Gov, in 2012, Americans generated about 251 million tons of trash and recycled and composted almost 87 million tons of this material, equivalent to a 34.5 percent recycling rate. On average, we recycled and composted 1.51 pounds of our individual waste generation of 4.38 pounds per person per day.

What does EPA recommend? Reduce the amount of waste needing to be disposed of, such as waste prevention, recycling, and composting.

So how do you do that? If you want to help reduce waste, ALWAYS

Refuse :: Reduce :: Reuse :: Repurpose :: Recycle

And these should be done EVERY DAY, not just on Earth Day.

Here are some sobering facts on our waste creation.

What do you REFUSE, REDUCE, REUSE, REPUROPSE, AND RECYCLE?

Click HERE to enlarge the infographic.

Check out these posts on this topic from Green Sisterhood bloggers HOW TO 5R!
The Greening of Westford – The 5 R’s
Green Talk – 15 Ways to Recycle your Underwear
The Soft Landing – 4 Ways to Reduce Waste
Green 4 U – Teach Kids 5 R’s
Jen and Joey Go Green – Easy Actions to Reduce Waste

earth day with green sisterhood

12 comments
DrKaaylaDaniel
DrKaaylaDaniel

And let's tell the folks at Whole Foods and other stores that  the packaging is excessive.  

Angry_Nutrition
Angry_Nutrition

It's things like this that caused me to go into a minimalist lifestyle. People mindlessly buy crap they don't need with money they don't have and it never makes them any happier in the long term. Great article. 

-Yossif

Blue Yurt Farms
Blue Yurt Farms

Really great post...it's scary how much waste we produce!

AnnaLishman
AnnaLishman

 Great article. Good to see the amount of recycled waste is increasing over the years. Hopefully the current rate of 34.5% will continue to increase, at least to the level Australia is at.

Lindsay Dahl
Lindsay Dahl

Great post Karen. I love the "refuse" option. I turned down a free galaxy notepad last time I was at the sprint store. People thought I was crazy, but I already have an ipad. Why accept a high tech gadget just cuz it's free?!

lorialper1
lorialper1

Great infographic Karen. I was surprised by the percentage of people who recycle batteries. That's probably one of the most common questions I'm asked: "how do I recycle batteries?"

ecokaren
ecokaren moderator

@Lindsay Dahl  You are so good Lindsay!! Tech waste is a HUGE problem. China has one of the largest recycling programs in the world and most of their income from recycling come from tech waste. We definitely have to think twice before buying another gadget. Thanks for reading. 

ecokaren
ecokaren moderator

@lorialper1  in my town, regular batteries go in the garbage. Only rechargeable batteries get recycled. 

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