a person picking up trash with bright green gloves

15 Facts About Trash With Waste Reduction Tips

What’s in your garbage? It’s not a glamorous thing to bring up, at the same time, it’s central to the green-living conversation.

World waste is a huge environmental problem

The statistics are staggering. From take-out containers to toothbrushes, the things people throw away pile up. The thing is, day-to-day, when in a rush or preoccupied, this problem might not even get a second thought.

Typically, we don’t support trash talk, but for the sake of environmental awareness we’re willing to make an exception. For World Cleanup Day this week on September 18th, and beyond, do your part by taking stock of what’s going in your garbage bin.

Take a look at these trash facts and how you can take action to help:

electronic waste: old cell phones that are obsolete


The world created 53.6 million tonnes of electronic waste in 2020, around the same weight as 350 cruise ships. How to take action: Collect and take used cell phones, computers, and other electronic devices to the nearest local e-waste recycling organization.

Plastic Bags

In 2015, the US produced 730,000 tons of plastic bags, sacks and wraps—87% of which ended up in landfills and the ocean. How to take action: Bring reusable bags to the grocery store, including canvas totes, or netted mesh and burlap bags for produce.


Every year, North Americans toss around 30 to 40 billion diapers into landfills. How to take action: Choose reusable cloth or biodegradable diapers.


Around 931 million metric tons of food is wasted worldwide every year. How to take action: Compost produce to use in the garden. Cook soups and stews from leftover odds and ends of vegetables.

piled vehicle tires

Vehicle Tires

The US trashes around 300 million tires every year. How to take action: Send spent tires to a recycling facility.


People in North America use about 215 kg of paper per person annually. How to take action: Choose digital documents over printed paper when possible, or opt for recycled and biodegradable options like seed paper.

Feminine Sanitary Products

There are 20 billion feminine sanitary products dumped in North America each year. How to take action: Check out feminine sanitary underwear, or mentrual cups.


The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the US sends about 2 billion razors into trash bins every year. How to take action: Get a safety razor with removable and recyclable blades.


Carpets last only about 5 to 10 years, and four billion pounds of carpeting goes to waste bins annually in the US. How to take action: Find a carpet recycling service or contact the carpet manufacturer to ask if they will recycle it.

colorful plastic cutlery, cups and straws in a pile

Plastic Cutlery

Plastic cutlery goes into the trash about 40 billion times per year in the United States. How to take action: Bring cutlery with you, or choose take out with compostable cutlery.


Together, people in the US and Canada throw away 10 million straws per day. How to take action: Use steel or reusable straws.

Bottled Soap

Out of all the plastic produced in the world, 161 tons comes from plastic packaging, which includes bottled hand soap. How to take action: Choose soap bars, or handmade soap wrapped in sustainable boxes and seed paper.


In North America, 10 million tonnes of textiles go to the landfill every year, which is around the same weight as five hundred long freight trains. How to take action: Join clothes swaps, or buy from and donate to thrift shops..

Toilet Paper

Worldwide, around 270,000 trees are flushed down the toilet every day. How to take action: Choose toilet paper made out of sustainable material, or install a bidet.

Coffee Cups

A shocking number of disposable coffee cups go straight into the trash. Vancouver alone throws away 2.6 million cups per week. How to take action: Use a reusable coffee mug at cafés, or make your own coffee.

Let these statistics motivate you to get started or keep going on your eco-living journey. Remember that it’s not about being perfectly eco-friendly, it’s about putting in the effort and making progress over time. Every little bit helps!

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