Monday numbers – BYOB: Bring your own bag

Monday numbers – BYOB: Bring your own bag

- in Environment, Top Story

China doesn’t want our trash, and the world is looking for somewhere else to dump it.

After importing 760 million tons of plastic waste from the U.S. alone in 2016, China banned 24 types of scrap waste from entering its borders last year, including most plastics and cardboard. As a result, many U.S. cities and towns have more trash with nowhere to put it. And the recycling programs no longer fetch premium prices for the material. It stacks up. The system that was supposed to help with sustainability is no longer sustainable.

This spring, as we clean out our basements and closets and sheds and garages, consider how we accumulated all of our stuff. Then consider how we can reduce our consumption: Bring our own grocery bags. Use less. Reuse more.

88 million — Tons of municipal solid waste generated in the US, 1960

262 million — Tons generated, 2015

24 million — Tons as proportion of 2015 waste, in metals

68 million — Paper

11 million — Glass

34 million — Plastic

40 million — Food

5.6 million — Tons waste recycled, 1960

68 million — Tons in 2015

45 million — Tons of paper recycled, 2015

3 million — Glass

8 million — Metals

3 million — Plastic

2 million — Tons of food, composted

100 billion — Number of plastic bags used in the U.S., annually

1,000 — Estimated number of years it takes for a plastic bag to degrade

Source: EPA
(CNBC, The New York Times, CBS)