6.  WASTE CALCULATIONS

Throwing material away requires built-up land for landfills and the energy to transport these materials. It also requires energy and built-up land for the recycling process. In these calculations, you can enter data on how much of the following materials you recycle: paper, aluminum, other metals, glass, and plastic.

Note that you have to be careful not to double count goods that are both consumed and thrown away. This means that goods are entered in either the GOODS or the WASTE category, but not both. Here is a recommendation from Diana Deumling at Redefining Progress:

"The idea behind the way we've set up these categories is that long-lasting or non-recyclable plastic, glass, metal, paper (books), etc., that are consumed should be entered into the Goods section. Also, short-lived paper like toilet paper or paper towels would get entered here."

"In the Waste section, packaging and potential recyclables like aluminum, glass, newspaper, junk mail, etc., should be entered. This is partly because it is usually easier to estimate/weigh these amounts when they have entered the trash or recycling bin, rather than when they come into the house (for instance, the glass in a jar of mayonnaise, the plastic tray for a TV dinner, etc.)"

Calculations of built-up land for waste follow the same assumptions and data sources as those for goods. Please see the Goods Calculations for details.