Facts About U.S. Trash
-- From 1960 to 2007, the amount of stuff that Americans threw away nearly doubled, from 2.7 pounds a person daily to 4.6, according to the EPA.
-- In 2007, the EPA says, Americans produced 254.1 million tons of household trash. Of that, by weight:
Paper and paperboard (packaging): 32.7 percent
Yard trimmings: 12.8 percent
Food scraps: 12.5 percent
Plastics: 12.1 percent
Metals: 8.2 percent
Rubber, leather and textiles: 7.6 percent
Wood: 5.6 percent
Glass: 5.3 percent
Other: 3.2 percent
-- 63.3 million tons of trash was recycled; 21.7 million tons composted; 31.9 million tons burned. The rest, 137.2 million tons, wound up in landfills.
-- There are 1,794 landfills in the United States, down from 20,000 in the early 1970s. The EPA estimates that they will be full in 20 years.
-- Between Thanksgiving and the new year, environmentalists say, Americans typically throw away as much as 5 million extra tons of trash, thought to be mainly wrapping paper and shopping bags.
-- Freecycle D.C. has seen requests for items such as expired meat for people who can't afford pet food and a boom in posts offering free furniture from homes that have gone into foreclosure.