Study Finds Michigan Has the Most Buried Trash

According to a new study, Michigan is the biggest contributor to the American Wasteland. Michigan was ranked first for the state with the most buried trash per capita.

The study consulted the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reporting System to get a handle on the amount of per capita waste that exists. Here are some of the trashy takeaways:


  • The average American produces 4.5 pounds of waste every single day.
  • The amount of trash going into the country’s landfills is at its lowest level since 1960.
  • Food waste, plastics, and paper products make up more than half the garbage in U.S. landfills.
  • Michigan is the state with the most trash per capita, with Indiana and Illinois ranking second and third.
  • Indiana’s landfills are growing the fastest in the nation.
  • California has more landfills than any other state in the nation — more than twice as many, in fact, as every other state except Texas.

Michigan Takeaways:

  • Ranked 1st for states with the most buried trash per capita
  • Ranked 2nd for states that will dump the most new waste per capita in landfills this year
  • Ranked 4th for states with the most amount of landfills
  • 18.3% of landfills are publicly owned and 81.7% of landfills are privately owned
  • 0.0079% of Michigan is a landfill

Garbage is filthy but fascinating. The things we throw away (and how we do it) can tell us so much about ourselves as a people: what we keep, what we throw out, how much thought we give to the process, whether — and how — we can try to make it better.