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With consumption skyrocketing in the developing world and a rapidly increasing global human population, it is time for a wake-up call regarding consumption and conservation. The average American household produces over 11.43 lbs. of waste every day. While this may not seem like very much by itself, this is equivalent to 4,172 lbs. annually- approximately the weight of an adult white rhino. Altogether, American households produce over 251 million tons of waste annually. While this number is staggering, keep in mind that this is just household, office, and retail waste. When combined with industrial waste, this number becomes much higher.
The time is now to make a change to the way we think about recycling. Every year, 135 million tons of MSW (municipal solid waste) ends up in American landfills. The majority of this waste (approximately 75%) is comprised of paper, plastic, glass, and metal that could otherwise have been recycled. A more vigilant attitude regarding recycling could make a huge difference. For example, if every American merely doubled the amount that they recycle- a feat that could be easily achieved with little effort, 71 million additional tons per year would be recycled instead of sent to the landfill. If we work together and put forth the effort, we can make a huge positive impact on our communities as well as our planet.