The Wheelabrator Waste to Energy Plant in Saugus, Massachusetts, has been burning trash to generate electricity since 1975.
Every year the US burns more than 34 million tons of garbage in incinerators. These plants are major pollution sources, and most are clustered in disadvantaged communities.
One use and done? Not always.
Many communities are banning single-use plastic shopping bags to reduce pollution, but a study in California shows that some consumers responded by purchasing more heavy plastic trash bags.
Where does it go from here?
China, which once processed much of the world's scrap, has slashed imports of "foreign garbage." What can the US do to step up recycling at home?
What happens to the leftovers?
Research shows that when Americans are aware of the scale of food waste, and how much energy and water are used to produce food, they support measures to reduce the problem.
Prototype vehicle built with 3D printing – but is it green?
Is 3D printing better for the environment than conventional manufacturing? The jury is still out.
Food packaging is one of the top uses for plastic in consumer goods.
Bio-based plastics made from natural sources break down more easily than conventional plastic, without producing toxic byproducts. But for this to happen they have to be composted, not buried in landfills.
A trash truck discharges solid waste at the South East Reserve Recovery Facility’s refuse storage pit in Long Beach, California, August 24, 2010.
AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes
Most Americans don't want incinerators in their neighborhoods, so waste management companies are burning trash in other facilities such as cement kilns. Is this a sustainable way to deal with garbage?
Nairobi’s Dandora waste dumpsite – still in use after being declared a health hazard in 2001.
Only a quarter of Nairobi's solid waste reaches the main dumpsite east of the city. Piles of uncollected garbage are a common sight across the capital.