Question of the Day

If the U.S. stopped recycling and buried all of its municipal trash for the next 100 years in a single landfill that was 30 feet high, how much of the nation's land area would this cover?

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At the current U.S. population growth rate and the current per-person trash production rate, the landfill would cover 27 square miles or 0.06% of the nation's land area. More realistically, the actual area in use will be an order of magnitude smaller, because (1) the U.S. recycles, burns, or composts 47% of its trash; (2) landfills can be more than 200 feet high; and (3) after 30-50 years, landfills are often covered and used for purposes such as parks, golf courses, ski slopes, and airfields.

DocumentationTrash & LandfillsCalculations




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