Landfill Solutions

How to Decrease the Number of Landfills:

Respect – Planet
Rethink – Consumption
Reduce – Waste
Reuse – Products
Recycle - Material

Respect - Planet: A deep appreciation of the fact that the chief characteristic of life on our planet is the interdependence of all living and non-living things. To give when you take; to nourish and be nourished. It is the anti-thesis of the rapacious nature of the consumptive society, where humans exploit everything around them for endless sensory gratification.

Rethink - Consumption: After the momentary thrill of the purchase, most of these items don’t make us happy. The high credit card bills or the lack of savings in times of economic duress do, however, contribute to high stress levels, which in turn contribute to poor health. Ryan Howell, assistant professor of psychology at San Francisco State University, has done a study that buying “life experiences”, such as going out to eat or attending the theater contributes more to happiness than purchasing more material goods.

Reduce - Waste: It is the most efficient and environmentally friendly way of saving our planet as well as our wallets. Spending on new things we don’t need is a waste of all the resources that went into producing, distributing, and selling that item.

Reuse - Products: Reusing the items we have manufactured and purchased keeps them out of the landfill. We can buy used items from second-hand stores, yard sales, internet sales sites (e.g. Craigslist, E-bay, etc.). We can likewise sell or donate the items we no longer need.

Another way we can reuse our waste is by composting it. Yard wastes and kitchen scraps make up 20-30% of all household wastes, taking up space in landfills and generating methane gas that will eventually leak into the environment. Composting saves landfill space, reduces methane generation, and provides a valuable, cheap resource for improving the soil.

Montgomery County provides free composting bins

Recycle - Materials: Recycling is the next most important solution. The three types of trash are household, commercial, and industrial trash. All three include plastic, glass, paper, and aluminum cans, all of which can be recycled.

Montgomery County Recycling

Conclusion

When considering landfills, the most important factor that needs to be discussed is trash itself. We can reduce our consumption by purchasing those things that we really need and weaning ourselves off those things that we don’t, saving money and our environment. We can buy better quality products so the items will last longer. We can reuse what we have by selling or buying used items, buying from second-hand stores, yard sales, internet sales sites (e.g. Craigslist, E-bay, etc.). We can avoid items with excessive packaging.

What we use in our households, commercial entities and even industries should be products that are safer and more biodegradable, such that trash ends up being less toxic and more biodegradable. If products are made of more biodegradable material, they will disintegrate faster if thrown away and thus take up less space in the landfill.



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