Wasting more myths

Solid waste management is a serious and growing problem for many cities and municipalities, leading to a host of proposed regulations that often negatively affect packagers.

Public misperceptions about solid waste abound. For example, people often mistakenly believe food packaging is a major contributor to the problem. In a report entitled Solid Waste: State and Federal Efforts to Manage Nonhazardous Waste, the Government Accounting Office found that municipal solid waste accounted for only one percent of solid waste in the U.S. in 1992. Industrial solid waste contributed 58% of the waste stream and "special wastes" another 39%. Even more startling, of the one percent contributed by municipal solid waste, foodservice disposables accounted for only one percent of the total. That means the myriad of proposed regulations targeting foodservice disposables and packaging would affect only one percent of one percent of the overall solid waste stream-the proverbial elephant gun to kill a fly.

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