Every year, Americans send tons of everyday waste to landfills and incinerators. It’s a huge waste of natural resources and energy, and it also causes pollution.
Fortunately, there are many ways to reduce your trash. Some simple swaps, like refusing plastic straws and bringing your own reusable cutlery when you eat out, can make a big difference.
Using the process of decomposition, organic materials such as leaves, grass clippings and certain kitchen scraps can be turned into a nutrient-rich soil amendment that can be used in gardening. Compared to traditional bagged garbage, compost is a much more environmentally friendly option because it reduces landfill space and air pollution from incinerator plants that burn trash. Additionally, it may save you money on yard work and other home maintenance because you’ll need fewer trash bags or less fertilizer.
During the composting process, naturally occurring microorganisms decompose organic materials and return them to the earth as a rich soil amendment. The microorganisms also aerate the pile and help convert nitrogen to a usable form, as well as repel plant diseases. The result is a rich, dark brown material that can be added to the garden as an excellent natural fertilizer.
Composting is a great alternative to sending organic waste to landfills, where the rotting materials release methane and carbon dioxide. In addition, the massive amount of trash in landfills destroys native ecosystems and habitats. Many people have a difficult time finding room in their backyards for a compost pile, but there are many options available for those who want to try their hand at it. One way is to use a “worm” composter, which uses a special type of worm to break down the waste. Another option is to use a simple open bin. Regardless of the method, it is important to monitor the ratio of greens and browns, turn the pile often for aeration and ensure that there is enough moisture in the material.
The best place to start when establishing a compost pile is by adding a layer of brown material such as twigs and branches to the bottom of the bin. After that, add a layer of greens such as food scraps and garden waste. To speed up the process, shred or cut the greens into smaller pieces so they decompose more quickly. It is also helpful to sprinkle the compost with water regularly to keep it moist. The pile should be turned every couple of weeks to aerate the contents and distribute oxygen evenly throughout.
Recycling is a great way to take care of your trash, as it not only reduces the amount of waste thrown away, but it also helps save natural resources like trees, water and minerals, lowers CO2 emissions and air pollution caused by incineration or using landfill sites and it supports a cleaner habitat for humans and animals. Plus, it saves energy for production processes and reduces the need to mine new materials, so everyone wins!
Most communities have recycling programs in place that either pick up curbside or allow you to drop off your recyclables at a local facility. Be sure to learn what your local rules and regulations are, as they can vary greatly. But in general, you can recycle paper, plastics, glass and metals. It’s best to separate each category because it makes it easier for the recycling plant to process them. It’s also helpful to make sure that you’re only recycling clean items; one dirty item can contaminate an entire batch of recycled products, so be careful!
A few things to keep in mind when recycling are that metals should be rinsed before being placed in the bin, and that plastic cans should be emptied before being placed in the bin. And while glass is typically accepted for recycling, it’s important to know that drinking glasses and window glass panes should not be recycled, as they are considered hazardous waste. And while wrapping paper is often accepted, if it’s coated with foil or glitter, it should be tossed in the trash.
Getting involved with your local recycling program is a great way to make an impact in your community. And if you have children, be sure to teach them the importance of recycling as well; kids are great at holding their peers accountable and can be huge advocates for recycling!
But recycling isn’t just good for the environment; it can be a great way to make money. Many people recycle their aluminum cans and glass bottles for cash, and even old newspapers can be sold to recycling companies. If you’re looking for a fun and easy way to help out, consider donating your old electronics or turning them into creative projects instead of throwing them away!
E-waste is the term used to describe electronic equipment that has reached the end of its useful life. It can include everything from old VCRs to DVD players, light bulbs and even computers. The problem with e-waste is that it can be very toxic if it is not disposed of properly. If it is left to deteriorate in landfills, it can leach into the soil and water, damaging the environment and causing health problems for people who live close by.
There are many ways to reduce the amount of e-waste that is produced. One way is to simply buy less electronics. This can be difficult, especially when companies are constantly rolling out new gadgets that look and function better than their predecessors. However, reducing the amount of e-waste that you produce can save you money in the long run, as you won’t need to replace your devices as often.
Another way to reduce e-waste is to recycle your unwanted electronic products. This will help to conserve natural resources and protect the environment. It also helps to create jobs for professional recyclers.
E-waste recycling involves dismantling the products and separating the different components. This process is very important, as it allows for the recovery of valuable materials that can be reused to make new products. The recycled materials can be used to create copper wiring, iron and aluminum parts, plastics and lithium-ion batteries. This reduces the need to mine new resources and makes the world a greener place.
It is also important to remember that discarded electronics can contain sensitive information. It is important to make sure that the data on a device is completely erased before it is recycled. This will prevent it from falling into the wrong hands and compromising your privacy.
It is important to recycle e-waste because it prevents harmful chemicals from entering the ecosystem and contaminating the water supply. This contaminated water can then cause illnesses in humans and animals who drink it. It can also affect the health of plants and trees that are irrigated with this water.
It’s easy to think of your trash as being something that simply goes out for pick-up and is discarded. But you can reduce your waste by donating things like unused clothes, books and working electronics to local charities, nonprofits, schools, libraries and thrift stores. Not only will this help declutter your home, but it also reduces the amount of items that are thrown away and sent to landfills or incinerators, which contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.
Note: Due to the coronavirus pandemic, please be sure that any donating items (such as food, clothing or bedding) are clearly labeled and double bagged to protect sanitation crews. See the Trash & Recycling Guide for more information. Thank you!
Tufts University has a number of different methods for reducing and disposing of your trash.