Non-biodegradable waste made up roughly one-third of the municipal solid waste produced in the U.S. in 2009 (see References 1, page 6). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends recycling whenever possible, and disposing of your trash at a combustion facility or in a landfill only when recycling is not possible (see References 1, page 11). Hazardous waste should be handled separately by your local sanitation department or by private companies that specialize in safe disposal of toxins (see References 2). Recycling
Separate glass, plastic and metal from other non-biodegradable waste for recycling. Many urban and suburban areas have curbside recycling programs; if such a program is not available, take recyclable materials to the nearest collection facility for processing. Recycling saves space in landfills and reduces the amount of virgin materials that must be mined or manufactured to make new products, saving energy and reducing global climate change in the process. (See References 3) Combustion
Some non-biodegradable waste like used rubber tires and plastic can be burned at combustion facilities. Most of these facilities use the heat generated by incineration to make energy in the form of steam or electricity, which reduces their demand for other nonrenewable resources, including coal and petroleum. In 2009, combustion facilities burned 3.1 million tons of solid waste, mostly used tires. Combustion of municipal waste also reduces the volume of trash that ends up in landfills. (See References 1, page 166) Landfills
Landfills provide long-term storage for non-biodegradable waste. Ideally, landfills are carefully situated to prevent contamination from entering surrounding soil and water, and managed to reduce odor and pests as much as possible. (See References 4) Federal regulations require careful monitoring in and around the site. Hazardous Waste Disposal
Some products like motor oil, pesticides, batteries and paint are potentially...
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