The EU produces 1.3 billion tonnes of waste each year. In other words, 3.5 tonnes of refuse and liquid or solid waste per European citizen. It is estimated that 40 - 45 million tonnes of this are classed as hazardous, or particularly dangerous.
Each day the United States throws away enough trash to fill 63,000 garbage trucks. In fact, in 2006, U.S. residents produced more than 251 million tons of municipal solid waste, which is approximately 2kg of waste per person per day. In addition, American industrial facilities generate and dispose of approximately 7.6 billion tons of industrial solid waste each year.
In EU - of the 3.5 tonnes of total waste per person per year, 535kg is domestic waste, ie, what individuals put in their bins. This has increased from around 325kg twenty years ago, and is still on the way up
The UK produces more than 434 million tonnes of waste every year. This rate of rubbish generation would fill the Albert Hall in London in less than 2 hours.
A landfill is a specially designed site that must hold lots of garbage without letting solid material, liquids, or odors seep into nearby air, water, and soil
What might be some ways to reuse a landfill once it is capped and closed?
Fresh Kills Municipal Landfill, Staten Island Picture of Fresh Kills taken c.1990, operated 1948-2001
Landfill Operations Daily Production & Compaction Gas Treatment Gas Flaring Leachate Treatment Daily Cover Gas/Condensate Monitoring & Collection
Refuse-derived fuel (RDF) or solid recovered fuel/ specified recovered fuel (SRF) is a fuel produced by shredding and dehydrating municipal solid waste (MSW) in a converter or steam pressure treating in an autoclave.
One ton of paper from recycled pulp saves 17 trees, 2.3m 3 of landfill volume, 27m 3 of water, 4,200 kilowatt hours (enough to heat your home for half year), 1.5m 3 of oil, and prevents 27kg of air pollutants.
The average American, in one lifetime, uses: 18 tons of paper, 23 tons of wood, 16 tons of metal, and 32 tons of organic chemicals.
About 4,000 minerals have been identified, of these around 100 can be called common, another several hundred are relatively common, and the rest are rare. Without more recycling, zinc could be used up by 2037, both indium and hafnium could run out by 2017, and terbium could be gone before 2012.
Sixty percent of U.S. municipal solid waste still gets buried in landfills…
What can be recycled: Some Plastics… Many recyclers do not take plastic bags, styrofoam, and certain other plastics. Find out if your recycler accepts it before you toss it in the bin
Of the 100 million tons of plastic produced annually, 10% ends up in the ocean More than a million birds and marine animals die each year from consuming or becoming caught in plastic and other debris Sewage include physical, chemical, and biological contaminants. Water pollution accounts for the deaths of more than 14,000 people daily.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch or Pacific Garbage Vortex is the world’s largest collection of waterborne plastic.
Not-so-fun facts about ocean plastic: -The Pacific Garbage Patch is twice the size of Texas! And it is growing! -Plastic does NOT biodegrade and harms seabirds and ocean life when it accumulates in the water -There is 5x as much plastic in the patch as plankton (natural debris) by weight Above: Harvesting plastic from the ocean Below: The ocean currents that deposit plastic into the Pacific Garbage Patch
Chain Effect Floating garbage is consumed by jelly fish and other organisms, which in turn is consumed by the fish that we eat.