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Consumption and
Municipal Waste - Part I
 
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Talkin' Trash

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  BAD NEWS: Over the decade of the nineties, the average person was responsible for generating 4.5 pounds of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) per day—up from 3.66 pounds per day in 1980.  
  GOOD NEWS: In 2000, the recycling rate was 1.4 pounds per person per day, nearly double the 1990 rate. Discards after recycling declined to 3.2 pounds per person per day (from 3.8).  
  According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in 2000 we generated a total of approximately 231.9 million tons of MSW. This represents an increase of only 0.3 percent from 1999. The tons recovered for recycling (including composting) rose to 69.9 million tons in 2000, up from 64.8 million tons in 1999. The recovery rate for recycling (including composting) was 30.1 percent in 2000, up from 28.1 percent in 1999 (just 10 percent in 1980).  
  FAST FACT: The number of municipal solid waste landfills has decreased substantially—from nearly 8,000 in 1988 to 1,967 in 2000. Nearly half of MSW is now being either recycled (30.1%) or combusted (14.5%).  
  For information about recycling and "America Recycles Day" (November 15th) visit, http://americarecyclesday.org/main.html.  
     
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Municipal Waste Production in the United States
Sources: US Census Bureau, Environmental Protection Agency
Municipal Solid Wste in the United States: 2000 Facts and Figures Executive Summary

MUNICIPAL WASTE BY TYPE: 2000
WASTE PER PERSON IN POUNDS PER DAY
BY DECADE: 1960 - 2000
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