Is waste from ordinary household trash actually a serious environmental problem, as seen by scientists? (as opposed to activists like the ones quoted in the article) Does it contribute in any significant way to the really serious environmental problems like global warming, mass extinction, deforestation, ocean acidification etc.? I remember when Bjorn Lomborg's "The Skeptical Environmentalist" came out I saw a lot of good debunkings of his claims about global warming and such, but I never really saw much in the way of a debunking of the claim that "waste" is a pretty minor issue (leaving aside special types like radioactive waste), that for example all of the trash in U.S. landfills could fit in a square region only 18 miles on each side (there's a similar analysis here). I know Lomborg is not to be trusted on any environmental issue, but it's also true that when I read stories about scientists pointing to environmental problems, I never come across any discussions of household waste as a major issue. I'd be happy to be shown otherwise if anyone has any links though (preferably to a science story that does some quantitative analysis of the impact).