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The United States recycles less of its paper and glass waste than other industrialized nations.

Paper and Cardboard: Glass:

Q1990 a 2003 I 11990 B 2003

20 40 60 80 100

Recycling Rates, %

Taken Irom: "The Truth About Recycling," Economist. July 7, 2007

20 40 60 80 100

Recycling Rates, %

Taken Irom: "The Truth About Recycling," Economist. July 7, 2007

The night before the scheduled pickup we were peering out the kitchen window, checking our neighbor's pile of bags and bins, hoping we were doing it right. Early the next morning I lugged our stuff out to the curb. When the single brown and tan truck came by, they took it all. No notes from the garbage police!

Though it took a few days to get used to sorting the garbage and we kept the brochure handy in the kitchen, we've come to see the wisdom of the system. A single pickup is simpler for the resident and saves the municipality in truck trips, gas, and air pollution. So I started looking into the history and environmental and financial implications of this system.

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