By Katie Arnold-Ratliff
One nation's trash could be put to much better use. We ponder what's being squandered.
Had the estimated 32.7 billion aluminum cans tossed out in 2011 been redeemed at recycling centers, they could have netted about $820 million.
More than four million pairs of eyeglasses are trashed annually, according to <a href="http://www.uniteforsight.org/" target="blank">Unite for Sight</a>.
22.3 billion pounds of textiles, including clothing, were thrown away in 2010.
The roughly 38,000 miles of ribbon we toss each year is "enough to tie a bow around the Earth," points out <a href="http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/" target="blank">California's department of recycling</a>.
According to the <a href="http://www.rma.org/" target="blank">Rubber Manufacturers of America</a>, 1.3 billion pounds of tires wound up in landfills in 2009.
In 2010, Americans got rid of 152 million cell phones and other mobile devices, of which 135 million made their way to the trash.
Each year more than 350 million pairs of shoes march into landfills, according to the charity <a href="http://shoesforthecure.com/" target="blank">Shoes for the Cure</a>.
Ditto nearly 20,000 tons of used tennis balls, says reBonus, a recycling business.
Americans manufacture about one billion CDs and DVDs annually, millions of which end up in the trash, says the <a href="http://www.cdrecyclingcenter.org/" target="blank">CD Recycling Center of America</a>.
Over 10 million bikes are dumped into American and European landfills yearly, says <a href="http://bicycles-for-humanity.org/" target="blank">Bicycles for Humanity</a>.
15.8 million tons of reading material (books, magazines) and other paper products were trashed in 2010.