Friday, August 18, 2006

The State of Garbage in Indiana

Each year, there's a nationwide survey* that provides an overview of how garbage is handled in the US. Hold your nose: it's not exactly a pretty story.

So, looking at the 2006 report, we (the US population as a whole) generated approximately 388 million tons of garbage. Of that total figure, 64.1% is sent to landfills, 28.5% is recycled & composted, and 7.4% is combusted.

Wowza. That's a lot of garbage.

So what about Indiana? Care to know what the survey said?

Our state alone generated approximately 13 million tons of garbage in one year. To date, there are 36 landfills in Indiana, and 60% of our garbage is directly sent to landfills. The rest of the trash is either recycled (35%) or combusted (5%).

And get this: In one year, Indiana residents generated 2.1 tons of garbage per person. That's you, me, and everyone else, but on a personal level. (Good grief!)

By comparison, Georgia residents generated 900 lbs of garbage per person that same year. There's approximately 2.5 million more people in GA. Yet, despite having a smaller population in Indiana, we Hoosiers generated 4.8 million tons more trash than GA folks!

(Ok, now before my friends in GA get smug, they should know that 90.6% of their garbage is directly sent to landfills, 8.3% is recycled, and 1.1% is combusted.)

So that's the state of garbage in Indiana. Not quite appetizing, I must admit. But rather than feeling guilty and ultimately ignoring this situation, I propose we become proactive in reducing our waste. Please tell me what you do to reduce waste--I want to know and be inspired by you!

*Survey information provided by BioCycle magazine, April 2006.

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