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Garbage Landfill Facts

Garbage and Recycling
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How much garbage do you think your household consumes in a day? If you're an average American, you are contributing nearly 4.5 pound a day – 56 tons a year – of garbage that is carted off to landfills. There, this garbage is smashed into cells, buried and turned into a toxic landmass that threatens land, air and water quality.

As landfills shrink in numbers, consumption increases, as does the size of the remaining landfills. Nearly 30 percent of trash in landfills is paper; 18 percent is food scraps and 16 percent is plastics. Many of these items can be easily recycled, reused and reduced with some advanced planning.

Garbage Landfill Space

One of the biggest problems about landfills is that they're running out at a rate of one a day. There is so much garbage in the world, that a landfill in New York can be seen from space. In the rural days, farmers would burn their garbage, but nowadays that isn't an option. Now all towns have a designated landfill, and large cities such as Los Angeles have multiple ones.

Garbage Landfill Chemicals

Another issue with landfills is toxic chemicals, such as methane, that creep into the ecosystem as the garbage decomposes. These harmful chemicals leak into the ground, threatening the water supply, and also evaporate in the air. Additionally, processing this garbage emits carbon, which has been scientifically linked to the depletion of the ozone layer and global warming. All creatures – big and small and including humans – are at risk from the proliferation of landfill matter and its harmful gasses.

Garbage Landfill Solutions


  • Purchase materials that require less packaging. When possible, purchase recycled products.
  • Donate reusable items to your charities instead of tossing them.
  • Develop a recycling program at your home and office.
  • Stick to permanent items when you can instead of disposables.
  • Remember that electronics and motor oil also is recyclable.
  • Use grass, scraps and brush to create compost and mulch.
  • Start small – all major life changes require baby steps at first.
  • Consider that if one learns to recycle at a young age, it becomes second nature.
  • Keep recyclables clean and empty to ward off pests.

Find local Garbage and Recycling Resources