Environmental Justice: Population 1/4 mile to Waste Site
In the United States, there were 250 million tons of municipal solid waste generated in 2010. Paper and paperboard constituted 28.5% of this total and another 28% was organic wastes such as food scraps, and yard trimmings (US Environmental Protection Agency, 2010). The data presented here covers waste generation. However, the other sustainability component of waste is the environmental justice issue of where landfills are located. Blackburn (2011) reports that 57% of persons living within a half mile of hazardous sites in Harris County are below the poverty line.
Sustainability Benefit: Municipal Solid Waste disposal numbers are decreasing in the 13 county region.
Sustainability Issue: Available data are estimates because private waste haulers account for a large portion of the market and do not have to report tonnage by types of waste or sources to the state. It is not clear the impact this may have on the reduction in tonnage reported.