View Where your trash gets dumped in a larger map

Some fun facts on your trash:

The average American generates seven pounds of trash per day.

Depending on where you live, between 40 and 75 percent of that material is recycled. The rest? It’s trucked to a landfill, dumped and buried.

Some fun facts on your trash:
  • Garbage as Economic Indicator: When Puente Hills Landfill closes next month, it was supposed to be full to the brim. But, because of the recession, the landfill actually has plenty of space. The dump can take in 13,500 tons of garbage per day. During the bust, intake dropped to 4,000 tons per day due to reduced construction debris and consumerism. Even now, in the recovery, the landfill is only taking  7,000 tons per day.
  • Food waste and yard trimmings make up nearly half of the stuff going to landfills, according to the state. That’s material that could be composted into fertilizer and mulch.
  • Landfills release more greenhouse gases than would be produced by burning trash to make energy, Edward Humes reports in his book Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash.

We talked  to Humes about America’s waste problem on Which Way, LA?.

The massive Puente Hills Landfill is nearly full and is scheduled to close on Halloween day. This closing will mark the end of an era of  waste being dumped close to urban areas. Listen here (and check out photos here).


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  • Valerie

    I recently moved to the UK from SoCal, and where we live we have three trash bins- yard/food waste, plastic/cardboard/glass, and a regular trash bin, as well as a separate paper box. It took a while to get used to separating out the trash, but now I'm noticing how little 'regular trash' we are making. It' s amazing, and not rocket science. I hope this system becomes more wide-spread.

  • optician fleet

    If recycling levels could get up to a 70% average everywhere it would make an amazing difference. OK it takes a bit of effort, but its got to be worth it!

  • Sarah

    In reference to Valerie, I moved from the UK to Spain. So I know about the separation that goes on in the UK – it used to work pretty well, slightly different from area to area, as where I lived had a separate one for glass. Now here in Spain it's the same – different bins for different types of waste. The main difference being it isn't collected, you take it to the bins. There are yellow bins for milk cartons, cans etc – can't tell you the number of times I've seen people put their recycling in these bins – inside a plastic carrier bag! If people had brains as they say…

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  • Edmin=)

    Thanks for posting this. I wish it was able to be translated, but for some reason Google toolbar isn't working. I copy pasted it into another application and read the post.

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