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The State of Garbage in America

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The State of Garbage in America is a biennial report of America’s trash capacity conducted by the publication BioCycle and the Earth Engineering Center (EEC) of Columbia University. The garbage tonnage data is collected from each state and compared to previous years. Some states, particularly those in the Northeast have limited capacity, while some states, particularly in the South, have the capacity for hudreds of years of estimated trash. Arkansas, for example, had capacity for another 600 years in 2010 without opening another landfill, while New York has 25 years and Massachusetts and Rhode Island 12 years each.[1]

The report was first conducted in 1989.[2][3] The formerly year-by-year report went biennial in 2000 when BioCycle first started working together with Columbia University. It was discontinued in 2010 due to fewer and fewer states collecting data on recycling and composting. It has since been supplanted by the "State of Composting in the U.S." report in 2014 and the "2017 State of Organics Recycling Survey".[4][5]

The 2017 report found 4713 composting sites in the U.S., of which 57% processed only yard trimmings, 13% multiple organics streams, 8% farm material, 5% yard trimmings and food waster and another 5% processed biosolids.[6]


  1. Brian Palmer (1970-01-01). "Landfills: Are we running out of room for our garbage?". Slate.com. Retrieved 2021-02-24.
  2. "Article" (PDF). www.biocycle.net. 2010. Retrieved 2021-02-24.
  3. The State Of Garbage In America. "The State Of Garbage In America – Web-Resol". Limpezapublica.com.br. Retrieved 2021-02-24.
  4. "State Of Composting In The U.S." BioCycle. 2014-07-16. Retrieved 2021-03-21.
  5. "The State Of Organics Recycling In The U.S." BioCycle. 2017-10-04. Retrieved 2021-03-21.
  6. "BioCycle survey highlights 4,700 composting sites in US and need for better state data". Waste Dive. Retrieved 2021-03-21.

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