Matters of Scale - Visible vs. Invisible Waste

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Tons of trash collected by more than 100,000 volunteers in the United States last year
1,665
Tons of hazardous waste produced by U.S. industries, much of it dispersed by uncontrolled disposal into the environment, last year
200,000,000
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Of the 7,235,000,000 tons of gold ore mined in the United States last year, the amount that ended up as gold
0.00033 percent
The amount that ended up as waste, much of it toxic
99.99976 percent
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Of the 1,077,000 tons of lead ore mined in the Unites States last year, the amount that ended up as lead
2.5 percent
The amount that ended up as waste, much of it toxic
97.5 percent
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Typical weight of a beef steak served at a good restaurant
0.3 kilograms
Amount of animal (livestock) feces and urine produced, much of it ending up in fresh water supplies, for each serving of meat of that weight
16 kilograms
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Sources: Trash pickup: Center for Marine Conservation; Hazardous waste: Global Waste Survey (London: International Maritime Organization, 1995); Mining waste: State of the World 1999 (Washington, DC: Worldwatch Institute, 1999); Livestock waste: U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (Iowa), Senate Agriculture Hearings on Animal Waste, 1998.