EDITOR’S NOTE: The writer is addressing the question, “Are America’s recycling programs too costly and ineffectual? Should we scrap them?”
GazetteXtra 01 February 2016: We Americans consume a lot and waste a lot. That means we dump far
more trash than is necessary into landfills. In fact, we produce twice
as much waste per capita as Western European nations.
The amount of municipal solid waste produced annually in the United
States has tripled since 1960. In 2013, it totaled 254 million tons.
That's 4.4 pounds per person every day.
We've made a lot of progress through the years in how we handle
waste. Recycling jumped dramatically nationwide after the mid-1980s, but
it leveled off around 2010, with the average American recycling or
composting 34 percent of his waste.
The rate varies by the type of waste, and by state and city. The
Environmental Protection Agency reports that we recycle 99 percent of
lead acid batteries, 67 percent of paper, and 55 percent of aluminum
cans, but only 40 percent of the...read on.