By Fredrica Syren
Trash is one of the hardest problems to eliminate or reduce for most people, and it has been difficult for us, too. When we throw something into the trash, it kind of disappears from our minds. It might be disappearing from our sight, but it surely is not gone. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average American produces about 4.4 pounds (2 kg) of garbage a day, or a total of 29 pounds (13 kg) per week and 1,600 pounds (726 kg) a year. This takes into consideration only the average household member and does not count industrial waste or commercial trash. Of course, all this garbage is “hidden” in landfills. As a matter of fact, the US is the number one country in the world in garbage production. I believe this is because we live in a disposable and convenient society. Look around and see how many things you use daily that will produce trash. So many articles are individually wrapped. And we all are guilty of buying bottled water at least once in our lifetime. Most of this garbage, such as plastic bottles, will provide relief for a short while but will take between 70-450 years to decompose in a landfill.
Since our family has started making an effort to reduce our trash, we have become more aware and now try to avoid buying things that cause trash. The first step was to become ultra-busy working on recycling. The second action we took that made a huge difference was to switch to cloth diapers and wipes. When we learned that 49 million disposable diapers are being used each day in the US and that all of these will take about 500 years to decompose, it was an easy switch.
Other ways we eliminate our garbage are as follows: