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The Problem with Trash
By Laura G. Smith
1 Maybe you're responsible for the weekly chore of taking out the trash at your house, or at least you've watched your mom or dad do it. You know the routine. Everything your family has thrown away goes into a trash can. Then you leave the can at the end of your driveway on trash pickup day, and the garbage men empty the stuff from the can into their truck and haul it away. Week after week, you repeat the same process.
2 You've probably never thought about how much trash your family produces over a period of time, but statistics show that the average American generates about four pounds of trash every day! That's 1,460 pounds of trash per person every year. Multiply that by the number of people living in the United States; and you'll realize that we, as a nation, throw away about 210 million tons of stuff each year. It comes from our homes, businesses, government agencies, and institutions like schools and hospitals. But where does it all go? About 27 percent of it is recycled or composted, and 16 percent is burned, but the majority (57 percent) is buried in landfills.
3 There are two types of places where trash is buried. The first type is referred to as a dump. This is basically just a big, open hole in the ground where trash is buried. (Some people make the mistake of referring to this as a landfill.) Dumps are exposed to the environment and attract rats, birds, and mice.
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