America, land of the … landfills? That’s what we’ve turned into since 1937, when the first sanitary landfill opened in Fresno, California. Today, there are nearly 2,000 active landfills across the country and hundreds more are at capacity, a stark reminder of just how massive our waste problem has become. This visualization from SaveOnEnergy shows how quickly landfills have boomed across the country, particularly in the past 30 years. One thing we have to remember when looking at this is that trash, and landfills, are a human invention. Waste does not exist in nature, in any form. Everything that is produced in a healthy ecosystem is consumed or decomposed by another organism, or the sun. That is because, in a natural system, everything has value to something.
Plastic surrounds us. From grocery bags and water bottles to gas caps and furniture, the petroleum-based products are ubiquitous, but the planet-warming emissions from their creation doesn’t have to be. Our chairs, bottle caps, and even laptop computer cases could all be part of the carbon emissions solution, capturing greenhouse gases within the plastic they’re made out of.
San Franciscans, bid adieu to Styrofoam. On Tuesday, the city unanimously passed an ordinance banning the sale of any product made from polystyrene, the petroleum-based compound that’s molded into disposable dishware, packing materials, and beach toys—among other things. Even though it’s commonly known as Styrofoam, that’s just a name-brand owned by the Dow Chemical Company.
“PLASTIC FISHING is the best way to enjoy the canals of Amsterdam! Step on board on one of our design boats made of Amsterdam Canal Plastic for a truly unique experience. Let us show you the highlights of Amsterdam whilst you can make a very positive contribution to our beautiful canals and the oceans in general.”
“Kathryn Kellogg, a 25-year-old print shop employee, spends four hours a day on her lifestyle blog Going Zero Waste. She posts on Instagram, engages with Facebook followers, and writes about homemade eyeliner and lip balm, worm composting, and shopping bulk bins – anything to avoid unnecessary waste. Her trash for the past year – anything that hasn’t been composted or recycled – fits in an 8oz jar.
“Lauren Singer runs Trash Is for Tossers, a no-waste lifestyle blog that is brimming with smart, simple and sleek-looking tips, tricks and DIY projects for adopting a more sustainable life.
‘I would like people to take away that we can all, regardless of our background, our beliefs, where we live or our socioeconomic status, take simple steps to reduce our environmental impact. It is simple to say no to a plastic straw or carry a reusable bag,’ Singer told The Huffington Post.”
“Hundreds of millions of tons of PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic are produced each year to package everything from sodas to shampoo. That only a fraction of this is recycled leaves much of it to rest in landfills and the ocean. But efforts to deal with this monumental mess may soon receive a much-needed boost, with scientists in Japan discovering a new bacterium with the ability to completely break down PET plastics in a relatively short space of time.”
Each year, around 10-20 million tons of plastic finds its way in to the Earth’s oceans, in total an estimated 5.25 trillion plastic fragments, weighing 268,940 tons. This plastic remains results in an estimated loss of $13 billion each year from damage that is done to the oceans ecosystem.