Trash Talk: Uncovering the Waste in U.S. Landfills

16:16 minutes

Americans dumped 262 million tons of municipal trash into landfills in 2012, according to a new study out in Nature Climate Change, which is more than double the EPA estimate for that same year. Engineer Jon Powell, an author on that study, discusses how this new number affects greenhouse gas measurements, and Robin Nagle, anthropologist-in-residence with the New York City Department of Sanitation, breaks down the history of landfilling.

Segment Guests

Jon Powell

Jon Powell is a doctoral student in Chemical & Environmental Engineering at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.

Robin Nagle

Robin Nagle is an anthropologist-in-residence at the New York City Department of Sanitation and author of Picking Up (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014).

Meet the Producer

About Alexa Lim

Alexa Lim was a senior producer for Science Friday. Her favorite stories involve space, sound, and strange animal discoveries.