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If you eat a pancake for breakfast at McDonald’s, how many disposable products will you throw away when you leave? Well, there is a Styrofoam container that holds the pancakes, a plastic syrup container, a plastic ketchup container, a butter packing foil, a paper cup, a plastic lid, a plastic straw, a plastic fork, a plastic knife, some used napkins, and the paper tray liner. A clerk at McDonald’s will clean up your table with a disposable wipe after you leave. It is only one breakfast for a single person, and everything from it goes into the same trashcan without recycling. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA), “Each American creates approximately 4.5 pounds of trash every day, and a majority of it ends up being buried in a landfill somewhere.” Considering the fact that the United States population was 291,587,000 in 2003 (U.S Census Bureau), the amount of waste generated per day amounts to 1,282,982,800 pounds. The United States is currently having a problem with the proper disposal of trash. Our accumulating waste might cause future generations to live in an unhealthy and unclean environment. The Earth is a closed system, which means the garbage we dispose of does not simply disappear, but rather accumulates where we live if people do not take actions to minimize the waste currently being produced.
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