• On average, a school-age child using a disposable lunch generates 67 pounds of lunch waste per school year (18,760 pounds of lunch waste per elementary school).
  • A waste-free lunch saves on average $216 per child per year (versus a disposable lunch).
  • The North Pacific Garbage Patch, the largest of the five gyres, is twice the size of Texas and contains about 3.5 million tons of trash
  • Packaging accounts for nearly 32 percent of all household waste in the U.S.
  • Americans discard 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour.
  • 40 billion plastic utensils are used every year in the U.S.
  • Americans use 500 million plastic straws every day. Placed end to end, the number of disposable straws used in the U.S. in the past 4 days could reach the moon.
  • About 23 billion coated paper or Styrofoam coffee cups end up in landfills every year. Placed end to end, they could circle the earth 68 times.
  • Every year Americans throw away 100 billion plastic bags. The average American family takes home almost 1,500 plastic shopping bags a year, that's more than 4 bags a day.


Our contributing intern, Rosanna Zywietz, studied Environmental Management in Scotland, has worked in waste management and has helped companies reduce their environmental impact. She has contributed several one-page fact sheets on the origins of waste and solutions to our staggering waste problem: America's Trash, Manufacturing and the Environment, The Waste Hierarchy.

  • Confessions of a Radical Industrialist
    by Ray Anderson

  • Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things
    by Michael Braungart and William McDonough

  • The Ecology of Commerce
    by Paul Hawken

  • Green Goes with Everything: Simple Steps to a Healthier Life and a Cleaner Planet
    by Sloan Barnett

  • It's Easy Being Green: A Handbook for Earth-Friendly Living
    by Crissy Trask

  • Smart by Nature: Schooling for Sustainability
    by Michael K Stone



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