Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online

Tracking trash

May 18, 2012

CHICAGO — A team of researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) wanted to find out how much trash Americans toss out each day and where it all goes, according to a press release.

The researchers placed transmitter chips on thousands of pieces of garbage, from dog food cans to printer cartridges; what they discovered is that Americans throw out more than seven pounds of trash each day, 102 tons in a lifetime, the release stated.

According to the release, researching also found that:

• Trash is America''s number one export
• Most American communities spend more on waste than on fire protection, parks and recreation, libraries or schoolbooks
• New York City transports 12,000 tons of trash each day to out-of-state landfills
• At 500 feet, one of the tallest structures in Los Angeles is the Puenta Hills Landfill, which now holds 60 years'' worth of decomposing garbage.

Many countries around the world are far more advanced when it comes to how they handle their trash, the release noted.

In Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark, less than four percent of garbage goes to landfills, and Germany does no landfilling at all, the release added.

"Much of the waste in these countries is incinerated and then turned into electricity. But, a great deal of it is recycled. Recycling is not an afterthought in these countries but a way of life," said Doug Berjer, brand manager for CFR Corporation.

Click here to read the complete release.