Saving Our Environment Is All of Our ResponsibilityJune 5, 2022
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The amount of waste we produce is not sustainable as our environment is suffering. Wildlife habitats are being destroyed, hazardous greenhouse gases are emitted which affect climate patterns around the world, and ultimately these all pose a threat to human health. It is easy to forget that this trash is also a waste of natural resources, energy, water, and money that is used to produce these discarded items we regard as junk.
Dealing with waste that is continuously generated is complicated but by not disposing of it correctly can lead to serious consequences. What we throw away matters, especially as nearly 70% of our waste is not recycled so it is destined for the landfill. Modern landfills are different to the rubbish dumps of old in that the case of the landfill, waste is covered over by soil, so it is effectively placed underground where it does not come into contact with oxygen when it breaks down. Unfortunately, this process can be disastrous to the environment.
- Food and yard trimmings account for about 35% of municipal solid waste.
Although these are considered organic and under different conditions would decompose naturally using oxygen to produce compost, in a landfill where this material is deprived of oxygen, it breaks down slowly. It emits methane as a byproduct which is released into the atmosphere. This is the gas that has more of a negative effect on climate change than carbon. The other danger is that the sludge that is left behind and is called leachate, is poisonous and impossible to contain. It eventually seeps into the soil and underground water, affecting local ecosystems, human and animal life and finds its way into our food chain by affecting agricultural practices.
- Other types of waste such as e-waste which is the fastest growing waste stream in the US contain heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, and mercury amongst others, which seep into our ground water causing harm to humans and wild life.
- Certain types of food packaging, Teflon frying pans, and even dental floss, contain harmful chemicals and heavy metals, which, when they find their way into our landfills, never break down. These PFA’s are known as ‘forever chemicals’ for a good reason.
- Plastic waste is something that should concern us all. Half of all plastic manufactured becomes trash in less than a year. The vast majority of this is not recycled and lands up in landfills or discarded as litter. Much of this will end up in our oceans which has a huge impact on marine life.
How Do We Reduce the Amount of Waste We Generate?
With the amount of waste steadily increasing it is becoming more challenging for government to manage waste disposal throughout the country. It is therefore the responsibility of each one of us to ensure that our personal waste is disposed of in a safe, eco-friendly manner. It is our duty to encourage these patterns amongst those around us, and to educate our children to be mindful of the way we dispose of our waste and do the right thing.
The first way we can battle this scourge of waste creation is for all of us to reduce the amount of waste we generate. While reaching a zero waste generation may be a bridge too far for most of us, with a bit of planning, there are many creative ways to reduce it.
Reduce Food WasteThis makes up the largest component of municipal solid waste sent to the landfill, and we have seen how harmful it can be to the environment when it decomposes. This is where each household can begin to reduce waste. Besides being good for our environment, reducing our food waste will save us money. It takes a bit of forward planning as we may need to change the way we buy and prepare food, and also how we store it so that it lasts longer.
Reduce and Reuse PlasticReplace plastic shopping bags with reusable ones is a habit that is worth adopting as it will go a long way to keeping plastic out of the landfills.
Bottled water can be replaced with a reusable water bottle. Discarded plastic water bottles are single use plastic items that should be consistently recycled. If you do not trust your tap water, invest in a water filter system to refill your own bottles.
Buy loose fresh fruit and vegetables rather than those items that are prepacked. This will reduce the amount of polystyrene and plastic waste generated.
Replace Those Disposable Coffee CupsThese containers may be made out of paper, but they are lined with plastic which means that they cannot be recycled. There are millions of these containers out there, especially after the Covid pandemic when reusable cups were disallowed by most coffee outlets. But most coffee shops now allow you to bring your own container – in fact many actually encourage this practice as it is an option that is much kinder to the environment.
Recycle CorrectlyThis is where we can make a difference. By keeping these materials out of the landfills, they are sent to recycling centres to be repurposed into new products that can be used again and again. Every municipality has a recycling program in place, and it is worth supporting your local authorities on this issue to keep these items from contaminating our environment.
Why Use Little Green Junk?
Taking into consideration the fact that landfills are here to stay for the foreseeable future, at Little Green Junk we firmly believe that recycling should be our first choice as the US waste stream is 75% recyclable. This way the amount of waste heading to the landfills will be drastically reduced.
It is up to us to make an effort to prevent waste where possible, and to recycle where we can. This is the only way we are going to be able to solve the environmental problem that this trash causes. If you find you have a certain type of waste that your municipal waste company cannot remove with your regular household trash, be responsible and call us to come and remove it for you.
Please call us today on 717 467 0070 when you need a quote for your trash removal.