Sunday, April 26, 2009

One Million Tons of Trash

We've joined the GMIC Trash Challenge and are working together with other industry professionals to divert one million tons of trash this year. Rough estimates tell us that is about 10% of what our industry tosses into the landfill. Certainly an achievable goal.

My question is...what does one million tons of trash look like? It is certainly bigger than a bread box. Would it fill the Super Dome? Would it create a mountain high enough to ski down? Fill a 100 railroad car train? I have no idea. But I do know a visual description would really help me get my mind around this.

I also know there are engineering types out there (Bjorn among them) who might be able to assist us and further tell the story of what we are going to accomplish.

Can you help?


Stephen said...

"My question is...what does one million tons of trash look like?"

Nancy --

I don't know how to compare trash to coal, but there are about 105 tons of coal per train car: so if it's similar density, a million tons would be a little less than 10,000 train cars long.

How high would it bury a football field? Using numbers from, I get:
1,000,000tons * 2000 lb/ton * 454grams/lb * (1cm3/.15grams) * (1 football field 1 foot deep / 486,000,000 cubic centimeters) = 12455 feet of garbage on piled up a football field. More than two miles high.


Nancy J. Wilson, CMP said...

Thanks, Stephen, this is helpful! I will publish these stats on the trash action blog as well if that meets with your approval (giving you credit of course).