We don't give much thought to where the products we use end their existence. But we should, because landfills, the most likely place for trash to land up in the US, are closing at the rate of 1 a day, and space is running out. Here are a few frightening facts about our landfills, and a few suggestions to help reduce your amount of trash and be on the road to a greener, more eco-friendly way of life.
In just 16 years, from 1979 to 1995, the number of landfills dropped by 84%, while the amount of trash generated increased by 80%. Although the American population has become increasingly aware of the need to reduce waste and to recyle, there still is so much green work to be done.
Here are some more scary facts:
- Only two human-made structures on Earth are large enough to be seen from outer space: the Great Wall of China and the Fresh Kills landfill, located on the western shore of Staten Island!
- Every year we fill enough garbage trucks to form a line that would stretch from the earth, halfway to the moon.
- An average child will use between 8,000 -10,000 disposable diapers ($2,000 worth) before being potty trained. In the United States alone, these single-use items consume nearly 100,000 tons of plastic and 800,000 tons of tree pulp, and will still be in the landfill 300 years from now. Americans throw away 570 diapers per second. That's 49 million diapers per day. To reduce your â€œcarbon diaper-printâ€, you can go reusable, or you can use eco-friendlier disposable diapers such as Swedish Nature Babycare, made without chlorine and without oil-based plastics.
- Americans receive almost 4 million tons of junk mail every year, most of which winds up in landfills. Click here to find out how to stop receiving junk mail, an easy way to be more eco-friendly. If some still comes your way, please toss it into your recycling bin, not the garbage one.
- Every hour, Americans throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles, 90% of which will finish their short lives in a landfill. Simply stop purchasing bottled water (25% is tap water anyway): landfills won't fill up as quickly and the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere will drop.
Think of what you have put in the trash can today: could it have been recycled instead or composted? Biodegradable goods take much longer (up to 30 years for a newspaper) to decompose when buried in landfills, as the necessary amount of oxygen is lacking. Also, next time you go shopping or buy groceries, try to purchase goods that are not heavily packaged. Every little gesture helps and contributes to a healthier planet and a greener life for all.
Source: Clean Air Council
JustLiveGreener brings you in depth-information about environmental issues as well as tips for a greener, more eco-friendly way of living that respects nature while enhancing quality of life.