By the Numbers
Paper or plastic? Your response to this common query at the checkout line may be a matter of personal preference, but a debate continues over which method of packaging is more eco-friendly.
Before your next transaction, check out these stats related to the three Rs: reduce, reuse, and recycle.
The number of tons of municipal solid waste generated in the United States in 2014.
Picture the Great Pyramid of Giza. Now imagine 126 of them. That’s how much space all of that trash takes up once it has been compacted. While nearly half of 2014’s waste was recycled or burned, about 136 million tons—equivalent to the volume of 67 pyramids—took up residence in landfills.
Sources: us Environmental Protection Agency, New World Encyclopedia
The number of states with beverage container deposit laws.
Think twice before throwing that can or bottle in the trash—or even in the recycling bin. If you reside in a “bottle bill” state—California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Oregon, or Vermont—you can cash in select containers at your local redemption center for a refund of two to fifteen cents.
Source: National Conference of State Legislatures
The percentage of wasted food at the retail and consumer levels.
Discarded food takes up more space in municipal landfills than any other form of waste. To help lower the ratio, be more mindful when purchasing, using, and discarding food. Planning meals, using food before its expiration date, and maintaining a compost heap can all help make a dent. And speaking of dents, give imperfect produce a chance.
Source: US Department of Agriculture
The number of used merchandise stores in the United States in 2015.
Was donating to or purchasing from Deseret Industries a part of your Provo experience while attending the Marriott School? Secondhand, thrift, consignment, and other forms of resale shops not only keep products out of landfills but also give shoppers a shot at a bargain and donors an opportunity for a tax deduction.
Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics
The number of gallons of water wasted annually by a faucet that drips once a minute.
Aside from being annoying, a small leak in your plumbing could lead to damage in your home or office and raise your water bill. After you fix that leaky faucet, you can further conserve water by shortening your time in the shower, turning off the tap while brushing your teeth, and watering your yard in the morning instead of in the afternoon.
Sources: US Geological Survey, US Environmental Protection Agency
The number of gallons of bottled water consumed in the United States in 2012.
The size of disposable water containers varies, but a 2007 estimate put the total number of plastic water bottles tossed each year in the United States above 38 billion. The health benefits of drinking more water are indisputable, but so are the ecological benefits of using a refillable container.
Sources: International Bottled Water Association, Ban the Bottle