Thousands of diplomats and activists are currently convening in Glasgow to discuss the worsening climate crisis at the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26). Sustainability, pollution, and mitigation will be covered, and with that, this felt like a good time to look at all the things that go to waste.
1,825 pounds of trash per year: That's how much the average American produces, according to statistics by the Environmental Protection Agency, which tracks facts and figures of municipal solid waste. According to the agency’s findings, food and paper top the rankings for types of waste going into landfills.
Another big piece of the trash equation is plastic. Just last year, the US shipped about 1.4 billion pounds of plastic trash overseas. And according to a new report by the Bennington College, Vermont-based project Beyond Plastic, plastic production is quickly becoming a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. “If plastic were a country, it would be the world’s fifth largest greenhouse gas emitter, beating out all but China, the US, India and Russia,” the report states.
America certainly isn't the only culprit when it comes to overconsumption and needing new solutions to waste management, as these photos show the handling of waste in a variety of ways around the globe.
Additional reporting by Zahra Hirji.