Recycling: Pounds, people, percents


According to the most recent figures from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from 2013, the average American throws away 1,606 pounds of trash per year, or 4.4 pounds per day. That comes out to 254 million tons of trash dumped into landfills each year — an amount that has doubled since 1960.

Mainers throw away about 1,140 pounds of trash each per year, 466 pounds less than the national average, according to the most recent report presented to the Legislature by the Department of Environmental Protection.

Maine also recycles slightly more waste than the national average — 36 percent compared to the national average of 34 percent. Mainers decreased their solid waste by about 300,000 tons from 2014 to 2015 and boosted their food composting by 68 percent.

Maine’s goal, set in 2015, is to recycle or compost 50 percent of municipal solid waste by January 2021.

The state also wants to reduce the disposal of municipal solid waste by Jan. 1, 2019, and cut it by 5 percent every five years after that.