The City: The Garbage Explosion

When city officials speak of the country as "wasting away," they are not punning. Waste—the uncontrolled proliferation of garbage, trash and scrap—is threatening to bury many U.S. cities. A serious problem for nearly all, it may soon become a crisis for many.

The garbage explosion already dwarfs population growth. While the number of people in the U.S. has gone up 30% since 1950, solid waste—largely as a result of the ever-increasing use of throw-away packages and containers—has gone up a full 60%, to 160 million tons a year, enough to fill 2,000...

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