WORLD’S WORST WASTE

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WORLD’S WORST WASTE

 user 2006-05-24 at 12:36:00 pm Views: 55
  • #15529

    World’s Worst Waste
    New
    York -mai 06 The United States leads the world in the production of
    waste, followed by other leading industrial nations.The U.S. manages to
    produce a quarter of the world’s waste despite the fact that its
    population of 300 million is less than 5% of the world’s population,
    according to 2005 estimates.The U.S. accumulates at least 236 million
    tons per year of municipal solid waste alone, according to the U.S.
    Environmental Protection Agency. The United Nations and other agencies
    estimate worldwide annual waste production at more than 1 billion tons,
    and some estimates go as high as 1.3 billion.Paper and paperboard, food
    scraps and plastics dominate this waste. If we go back a few years to
    1960, the level of waste generation was about one-third what it is now,
    so it can be said that we are learning to produce trash at a greater
    rate. Each U.S. citizen produces an average of more than 1,600 pounds
    of waste per year. That is a lot of trash.Waste is measured in many
    ways. One of the most common categories is municipal solid waste:
    household and some commercial waste. Other categories include
    electronic waste, hazardous waste, recyclable waste (around 30% in the
    U.S. and far more in places like Japan), non-recyclable waste (which is
    what makes up landfills) and endless other distinctions.Waste creation
    and disposal is measured by the United Nations, the EPA and Greenpeace,
    as well as interested parties that monitor hazardous waste or
    radioactive waste for their own use and often alert the public on the
    production of such wastes.Some exceptional companies like Aligent
    Technologies take waste very seriously and track their own use
    worldwide. They publish their world, Asian, European and U.S. waste
    facts on their Web site in a way that the U.N. and the EPA might well
    imitate. Al Rego, the management systems manager of Aligent, says, “Our
    company reduced total waste for several years, but our figures are flat
    through 2004-2005. This can be accounted for by our significant
    growth.”Other companies such as Hewlett-Packard 
    have made a positive move by paying money for returned ink cartridges,
    while Canon  has spent great sums on recycling toner cartridges
    .
    This may have begun as good public relations, but it also helps reduce
    the sheer volume of waste being generated.Waste can be a problem, a
    commodity (a $57 billion U.S. industry), or an embarrassment–as when a
    state like New York has waste barges traveling about, looking for a
    place to land. Some other states, such as Pennsylvania, receive waste
    and get paid for it. Pennsylvania is, indeed, the lucky recipient of
    truckloads of New York trash. New York City spends around $1 million a
    day on long-haul trash.The total amount of trash imported and exported
    around the U.S. is 40 million tons. The looming problem in the U.S. is
    that available landfill sites have dropped by 80% in the last few
    decades. The good news is that those still available are among the
    bigger ones. Still, each day we fill more than 44,000 garbage trucks,
    each holding about 9 tons of trash. When is too much too much?According
    to Drewry Shipping Consultants, out of 100 containers shipped from
    China, 60 go back to China empty. Those that are full may contain waste
    paper, scrap metal or hay. These items do not cover the cost of return,
    but every container buck counts.It appears our trade to China is, in
    great part, about sending raw hides and getting back shoes; sending
    waste paper and getting back packaged toys, lamps and household items;
    sending scrap metal and getting back machinery; and sending raw cotton
    and getting back finished clothes. Wal-Mart Stores  alone imports
    576,000 containers from China each year.Almost all waste needs to be
    transported by truck, barge, ship or rail, and often it goes around the
    globe. It is an awesome and smelly business.As bad as it is for the
    U.S. to top the list of the biggest waste producers, other, smaller
    nations are actually doing far better even when the ratio of waste is
    calculated against the total population served. It also needs to be
    noted that countries like Japan and Germany, for all their trash, are
    most accomplished at recycling and properly burning waste under
    controlled conditions.