WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans may be sending more than twice as much trash to landfills as the federal government has estimated.
According to a new study, America tosses five pounds of trash per person, per day, into its landfills.
The study is based on actual landfill measurements, instead of government estimates.
For years, the Environmental Protection Agency relied on estimates to determine how much trash was being sent to landfills. But five years ago, the agency started requiring most municipal landfills to measure and report how much trash was heading into the dumps.
Researchers at Yale looked at the records for more than 1,200 landfills and calculated amounts.
The study in the journal Nature Climate Change says they figured it was 289 million tons in 2012. For the same year, the EPA estimated the figure to be 135 million tons.
If the numbers are correct, Americans aren’t recycling as much as authorities thought they were. EPA estimated that Americans recycled 34.5 percent of their waste in 2012. But if the amount of trash matches the Yale calculation, the recycling rate would be 21.4 percent.
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