Full Title: Trash in America: Moving from Destructive Consumption Towards a Zero-Waste System
Author(s): Alexander Truelove, Adrian Pforzheimer
Publisher(s): U.S. PIRG, Environment America, Frontier Group, Community Action Works
Publication Date: September 30, 2021
Full Text: Download Resource
The United States produces too much waste.
Natural resources are continually extracted to produce goods that are used in the U.S. – often only briefly – before they are thrown into landfills, incinerators or the natural environment. This system of consumption and disposal results in the waste of precious resources and pollution that threatens our health, environment and the global climate.
Because the costs of this system fall on society at large – not on the producers and consumers who drive it – there are few direct incentives for change.
To protect public health and the environment, conserve natural resources and landscapes, and address the mounting crisis of climate change, America should move toward an economic system characterized by zero waste. To achieve that goal, federal, state and local governments should enact policies and programs that incentivize shifting to a “circular” or “closed-loop” economy in which less is consumed and all materials are reused, recycled and composted in a continuous cycle.