By Eva Ciobanu
Waste is a problem, and has been for a long time. Most people don’t think about the impact of littering, not composting, and using plastic when they do these things, but it’s important to inform people so that we can change our ways.
Composting reduces carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.Landfill waste produces a lot of carbon dioxide and methane Recycling does make some pollution, but it reduces more landfill waste, which causes the most pollution.
Even though these figures are from a 2011 study, it’s crazy to think about how much waste we as a nation produce each day.
If you’re about to throw something away, think about how long it might remain on this Earth before it’s fully decomposed. For example: a paper towel, 2-4 weeks; a cotton shirt, 2-5 months; cigarette filler, 1-5 years; a plastic bag, 10-20 years; plastic foam, 50 years. Those seem like short amounts of time, but there are more things that take so long to decompose, they’ll outlive you, such as: an aluminum can, 80-200 years; disposable diaper, 450 years; and a glass bottle, 1 Million years.
Some of these things can be recycled, and turned into something else such as cardboard boxes, bike parts, even your cat’s litter. This does produce some level of pollution, but creating these things produces more pollution, and leaving them in the landfill is the worst thing you could do.
So if you have a compost bin, please use it. Composting is an essential part of our ecosystem and future. What can be reused is sent to a composting plant and turned into soil for your garden.
In The Los Angeles Times, an article called “The world's trash crisis, and why many Americans are oblivious” states how a program called WasteZero promotes waste reduction by charging a set fee in cash for every bag that is brought to one of the drop-off locations. “The program has resulted in an average waste reduction of 44% and often doubles recycling rates, according to WasteZero’s statistics,” (2019 LA Times). Even though the recycling, compost, and garbage is treated the same as other waste plants -most is reused and the rest is sent to a landfill- WasteZero encourages others to get involved in helping solve the trash crisis.
In conclusion, use your compost and recycling bins, reduce plastics usage by using paper bags, reusable straws, etc; and lastly, keep yourself up to date, make sure you know what’s happening at your trash dump. Don’t let it go, there is a crisis, and we need to do something about it before it’s too late.
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