There aren't many alternatives for what to do with our mountains of trash. It would cost $45,000 per pound, says Joe, to shoot trash into space. Every day, 108,234 tons of waste is incinerated, pumping potentially hazardous chemicals into the air. "Though they are very much improved from the smokestacks of ten or twenty years ago, incinerating still releases small amounts of lead and mercury," says [Elizabeth] Royte [author of Garbage Land]. "But it doesn't make trash disappear. It does reduce its weight by 75 percent, but you're still left with the ash. Because of the Clean Air Act, the ash goes into landfills and all the toxins that were kept out of the air go into the ground instead."