The average American throws away 4.4 pounds of trash a day, which ends up in one of the country's 2,000 active landfills, says Fast Company writer Adele Peters.
The electricity company SaveOnEnergy put together a series of maps that show the extent of the trash problem in the U.S. But some states are working toward a landfill-free idea. New York City, which currently sends trash elsewhere, is working to reach a zero waste goal by 2030. San Francisco and Oakland, Calif., want to stop sending any trash to landfills in the next four years.
One map shows which states produce the most landfill gas—methane created when organic waste such as food starts breaking down. Because methane is 23 times more effective than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere, landfills are a serious global warming problem. The map, based on EPA data, may underestimate the problem. A Yale study in 2015 suggested that Americans are throwing out twice as much as the EPA estimates.
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