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Waste Industry Facts and Statistics

Catch the latest news and statistics about landfills and trash, following waste from its creation to final destination.

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Landfills

A pile of single-stream recyclable materials.
All the U.S. Recycling Facts You Need to Know

While the recycling rate in the U.S. has dropped, the total tonnage is at an all-time high. Learn all about the current American recycling landscape.

A pile of organic waste at a green landfill.
What Are Green Waste Landfills?

A recent trend in the U.S. is the emergence of green waste landfills. We’ve got the info you need, from why compost landfills are important to how they’ll benefit the environment.

Workers sorting through trash on a conveyor belt.
What Really Happens at Waste Transfer Stations

Ever wonder what happens at a waste transfer station? Find out exactly how they work, and the important role they play in managing our trash.

A field that covers a closed and capped landfill.
What Happens to Trash After a Landfill Is Full

Curious what happens after a landfill is capped? Many are transformed into useful community spaces like parks, wildlife habitats or green energy projects.

Orange dump truck tipping load into a landfill with debris in the foreground.
The 4 Main Types of Landfills

Learn about the four main landfill types — MSW, industrial, hazardous and green — and how each works to ensure your trash is properly taken care of.

Pile of Debris in Landfill With Truck in Background.
How Modern Landfills Protect the Environment

Sanitary landfills operate by layering waste and tightly sealing it. Experts monitor the drainage and gas collection systems beneath the waste for leaks.

Waste Processing Plant Workers Sorting Trash
What Happens to Trash After It’s Tossed?

After garbage is tossed, the majority of it is sent to a landfill to decompose, while recyclables are sorted and repurposed in a recycling center.

Woman Tossing Coffee Cup in Trash.
What Is the Life Cycle of Trash?

After you throw your garbage away, it's usually sorted at a transfer station then sent to another facility. Start here to learn where your trash goes next.

Rows of hazardous waste barrels.
What Happens at Hazardous Waste Disposal Sites?

Find out how hazardous waste disposal sites properly handle harmful materials like household cleaners and paint so you can safely get rid of them.

Waste to Energy Plant
A Waste-to-Energy Success Story

Learn how one waste-to-energy plant is surpassing expectations to prove that this process can positively impact both a city’s sustainability and economy.

byKatina Hazimihalis
Going zero waste.
Zero Waste vs. Zero Landfill: The Big Difference

Zero landfill means sending nothing to the landfill via recycling, but zero waste supports eliminating trash altogether by redesigning product life cycles.

Anaerobic Digestion Plant With Two Trees and a Bright Green Field in the Foreground
How Anaerobic Digestion Turns Waste Into Energy

What is anaerobic digestion? It’s a process that aims to turn waste into renewable energy. We talked to the experts to learn how anaerobic digestion works and the potential benefits.

byKatina Hazimihalis
Barbershop Shaving
What You Need to Know About Biohazardous Waste

Many businesses encounter biohazard risks every day. Learn helpful biohazardous waste storage and disposal methods to keep your workplace safe.

Empty Landfill
How Landfill Gas Can Power Our Future

Capturing landfill gas and converting waste to energy is a simple process. According to the EPA there are over 600 facilities operating across the country, so you may have trash to thank for your electricity.

Trash Statistics

A pile of single-stream recyclable materials.
All the U.S. Recycling Facts You Need to Know

While the recycling rate in the U.S. has dropped, the total tonnage is at an all-time high. Learn all about the current American recycling landscape.

A pile of garbage contaminating the woods from illegal dumping.
How Illegal Dumping Affects Your Local Environment

Illegal dumping can do more than just harm the environment. It can also cause property values to fall and cost taxpayers money to clean up the mess.

A hand holding a green trash bag in front of several overflowing trash bins.
Curbing America's Trash Production: Statistics and Solutions

The U.S. produces 268 million tons of waste — 140 million going into landfills — each year, with the average American tossing 4.5 pounds of trash per day. Learn more about America's trash production.

A male cashier in an apron handing a reusable bag to a woman.
The Pros and Cons of Plastic Bag Bans

Plastic bags can contaminate food sources when improperly disposed, but will your food be exposed to bacteria without them?

Waste Processing Plant Workers Sorting Trash
What Happens to Trash After It’s Tossed?

After garbage is tossed, the majority of it is sent to a landfill to decompose, while recyclables are sorted and repurposed in a recycling center.

Woman Tossing Coffee Cup in Trash.
What Is the Life Cycle of Trash?

After you throw your garbage away, it's usually sorted at a transfer station then sent to another facility. Start here to learn where your trash goes next.

Full Shopping Cart Next to Green Bins of Produce at a Grocery Store
Grocery Store Waste Stats That Demand Change

Are these grocery store waste statistics true where you shop? Learn how much food your supermarket throws away, why so many don’t donate and how they could benefit by cutting waste.

byKatina Hazimihalis
Restaurant Food Waste
Feed the Hungry With Your Restaurant’s Leftovers

Learn the facts about restaurant food waste and how you can start your own food donation program with help from groups like the Food Donation Connection.

byKevin Rossignol