Since 1960, the amount of trash generated annually in the U.S. has nearly tripled. EPA data shows that in 2010, Americans created about 250 tons of trash. They produced just 88 tons 50 years earlier. Part of this increase is due to a growth in population. However, the average amount of trash that each American creates has not kept pace with the expansion of the heap at large.
In 1960, each American’s share of the year’s trash total was 2.68 pounds. In 2010, that amount had risen to 4.43 pounds per person. This is not even double the numbers 50 years earlier. This could be due to the recycling, reuse and repurposing habits that are far more commonplace in the 21st century. Due to high-profile recycling campaigns, Americans today are far more environmentally conscious than their 1960 counterparts.
In 1960, the U.S. recycled only 5.4 percent of the garbage it created; in 2010, the nation recycled fully 34.1 percent. In terms of tonnage, the 85.1 tons of trash recycled in 2010 is more than 15 times the 5.6 tons recycled in the earlier era.
With a continued national effort to recycle as much trash as possible, Americans can keep more garbage out of already overtaxed landfills. As technology finds new and more cost effective ways to recycle all sorts of trash, the U.S. can lead the world toward a significant reduction in resource consumption.
The computer recycling professionals at ROUND2 INC., an Avnet Company, brought you this infographic.