Ragpickers search for reusable items from a heap of garbage, at Sevapura dumping yard in Jaipur,Rajasthan, India, Wednesday, April 07, 2021.

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Humans generate a remarkable amount of garbage: over 2 billion tonnes per year, according to the World Bank, or approximately 4.5 trillion pounds annually. And that figure is going to grow. Global garbage is expected to reach 3.4 billion tonnes by 2050.

Even if you could figure out where to put that much garbage, it’s going to leak dangerous greenhouse gasses that contribute to climate change. Solid waste landfills are the third-largest source of methane emissions in the United States, according to the most recent data available from the Environmental Protection Agency. In 2019, landfills released 15% of methane emissions, which is equivalent to emissions from more than 21.6 million passenger cars driven for one year.

Recycling is no panacea. And furthermore,…

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