Tue. Nov 29th, 2022

What 60 Years Of Data Tell Us About Our Garbage Habits
Siwakorn1933 // Shutterstock

– Total waste generated 2018: 67.4 million tons (+124.7% change since 1960)

– Total sent to landfill: 17.2 million tons (25.6% of total waste generated, -30.9% change since 1960)

– Total recycled: 46.0 million tons (68.2% of total waste generated, +804.9% change since 1960)

– Total combusted: 4.2 million tons (6.2% of total waste generated, increase from 0 tons in 1960)

Paper and paperboard trash are some of the few glimmers of relative success in America’s waste management history. Materials with any type of food or liquid residue or plastic coating—think pizza boxes and milk cartons—cannot be recycled. But the paper products that can be recycled are most often turned into containerboard on their way to becoming cardboard boxes.

Demand for cardboard boxes is at an all-time high, particularly amid the coronavirus pandemic. The cardboard manufacturing industry generated over $67 billion in revenue in the first 10 months of 2020. Corporate giants like Amazon are also reducing paper and paperboard excess in the waste stream. Amazon eliminated the equivalent of 1.6 billion boxes-worth of packaging materials over five years by using artificial intelligence to determine the optimal packaging size.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Waste Management (WM) announced plans to invest $56 million to advance recycling technologies at three material recovery facilities across Washington.

With the demand for recycled products expected to rise, the investment will help WM capture more recycled materials and increase access to recycling for its customers.

“Sustainability is WM’s core business,” said WM Pacific Northwest Vice President Jason Rose. “This investment confirms WM’s longstanding commitment to helping Washington communities and businesses to achieve bold sustainability goals.”

WM will upgrade several material recovery facilities with state-of-the-art technology. The goal is to reduce contamination and enable for recyclables to be processed at a high standard at these facilities.

$15 million of the investment will go towards the Spokane Materials and Recycling Technology (SMaRT) Center.

This facility processes recyclables collected from communities and businesses in Eastern Washington and North Idaho. The SMaRT center will receive several upgrades, planned to commence in 2023 and complete by early 2024.

READ: $150 million expansion project underway at Spokane International Airport





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