You’ve heard the suggestions regarding trash: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. They make great sense too.
-If I use less, there will be less garbage.
-If I reuse things, I will prolong their product-life, which may in turn prevent me from buying things I don’t need.
-If I have to buy something, have used it as much as I can and finally have to dispose of it, recycling it makes a heck of a lot more sense than sending it to a landfill. Again, I will help something to continue its usefulness.
I wonder though, if people really understand where their garbage goes when they choose to just throw it away instead of reusing or recycling it, when possible. A few years ago, while on assignment, I travelled to Milwaukee’s north side, to see a massive landfill. A landfill is actually quite amazing in its simplicity: designate an area as a landfill, drive a truck full of garbage to this area and dump your garbage out, put some dirt on it, drive another truck out, dump garbage, dump dirt, etc….
It was pretty amazing to see, and to truly comprehend–this was the end of the line for countless poorly-made, cheaply-produced “disposable” things. This was IT. Bury it. There was no “processing” or sorting of the garbage; just dump it, bury it, repeat.
When the final-ness of this struck home, I was really quite disgusted. There were things that could have been reused, could have been recycled, but instead there were buried inside a very large man-made-garbage-laden hill on Milwaukee’s north side. When you look at these photos, particularly the one where you can see some other hills in the distance, realize that those hills are nothing buy your and my garbage piled high. It’s revolting.
-Find out what your community recycles, please, and recycle when and what you can.
-Find ways to pass things you no longer want, on to people who would like them–Freecycle and Craigslist are great ways to get rid of things that do have some level of product-life in them yet.
PLEASE, consider what you can do to reduce the volume of garbage you create.
Half-Priced Books – to buy/sell your used books/magazines/maps
Goodwill – to buy and donate used clothing