A closer look at recycling and composting, according to the EPA.
A truck dumps its load of recycled materials to be sorted at the Norcal Waste recycling facility July 11, 2003 in San Francisco.Each year, Americans create 251 million tons of trash, 135 of which ends up in landfills, according to the EPA.
A styrofoam take-out container is viewed in a trash can on December 19, 2013 in New York City. Nationally, Americans recycled and composted almost 87 million tons of municipal solid waste(trash) in 2012, according to the EPA.
"It takes a lot of effort to put a tire together...so to throw it away in a landfill is a waste of raw materials," said John Sheerin, Environmental Director with Bridgestone Retail Operations. In 2013, they recovered more than 10 million spent tires.
A sign for an 'e-waste' drop-off location inside an Illinois Staples store Sept. 29, 2005. According to the EPA, the average American household uses about 24 electronic products and annually discards more than 2 million tons of electronic products.
Food scraps in a compost bin at The Slanted Door restaurant on Dec. 10, 2010 in San Francisco. According to the EPA, waste generation suggests a shift: in 2012, the per capita generation(4.38lbs/person/day) were the lowest levels since the 1980s.
Recology worker Miguel Rojas carries bags of compostable material to his truck on December 10, 2010 in San Francisco, California. Nationally, the recycling rate has increased from less than 10 percent in 1980 to more than 34 percent in 2012.
Sorted mixed paper moves down a conveyor belt at the Norcal Waste recycling facility July 11, 2003 in San Francisco. Every ton of mixed paper recycled can save the energy equivalent of 165 gallons of gasoline,according to the EPA.