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Trash Talk Tuesday presents: "What's in a Landfill?"

    Connect the items with the correct percentages of landfill composition.

a. Disposable Diapers           1. 12 percent 

b. Paper                               2. 7 percent 

c. Food and Yard Waste      3. > 40 percent 

d. Building Materials           4. < 2 percent 

e. Polystyrene Peanuts        5. 1 percent 

a: 4, b: 3, c: 2, d: 1, e: 5.

     In the popular imagination, great massifs of foul, never-biode-grading disposable dipes fill our dumps, blotting out the sun and staining our posterity. In fact they make a nearly negligible contribution to the landfill's mass. Same goes for those pernicious poly peanuts. 

     You'd think that food waste and yard waste were landfill ephemera-substances that quickly break down and return to nature. But excavations reveal that even after the passage of decades, they are still recognizably themselves.

     Building waste: shattered cinder blocks, shivered timbers, concrete crusts sprouting skeins of twisted rebar, drywall in torment, pot metal and plastic locked in a death embrace. Not easy or simple to recycle.

     In 1970 15 percent of all US wastepaper was recycled; in 2005 more than 50 percent. But "all US wastepaper" meant 6 million tons in 1970; in 2005 it meant 84 million tons. 

information from: Talking Trash knowledge Cards Text by James Donnelly 









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