A Brief Tour Of American Trash

Brian Palmer leads one:

Rather than having lots of tiny dumps scattered everywhere, we now have a small number of mega-landfills. In 1986, there were 7,683 dumps in the United States. By 2009, there were just 1,908 landfills (PDF) nationwidea 75 percent decline in disposal facilities in less than 25 years.

Which brings us to the problem with the new system: Trash now has to travel farther from your kitchen to its final resting place, and longer trips mean more greenhouse gas emissions. Thirty years ago, a bag of garbage dropped down a chute in Manhattan would have traveled just a few miles by barge to the aptly named Fresh Kills facility on Staten Island. (Until 1931, the city dumped most of its trash in the Atlantic Ocean.) Today, it would likely make an overland journey to Ohio, Pennsylvania, or West Virginia.