Where does your trash go?

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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).

LA County Dept. Public Works
LA County Dept. Public Works (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)