Trashing Our World

Today I got home and found a box of 216 diapers sitting on our front stoop (they weren’t a prank by a neighbor…we ordered them.). Matthew seems to going through about 8-10 of them a day right now.

This evening I wheeled our garbage can out to the curb, it probably contained over 50 diapers from the past week. And unfortunately, each one will live in a landfill for the next 500 years.

I then came across a TV program on CNBC called Trash Inc. – The Secret Life of Garbage. Very informative (yet frightening) information about what happens to everything in that garbage can sitting out on my curb.  Did you know that:

  • the NYC budget for the Department of Sanitation (aka NYC Garbage Men) is over a billion dollars a year…$1B+.
  • while we have problems with garbage here in the United States that only 60% of the garbage in Beijing is ever collected.  And who knows what that number is from other parts of China.
  • there are five (5) country or continent sized garbage zones in the worlds oceans that contain the refuse that washes down the worlds streams and rivers.  Plastic with Korean writing can be found on beaches in Hawaii.

As a naturalist, landscape photographer, and citizen of the planet I recommend that you check out this program.  It will make you sit back and think.  Think about what you consume on a daily basis.  Think about how we treat the things we produce as a world economy.  Think about the impact that our consumption and garbage has on the planet.

A positive note is that a young photographer from Beijing photographed the city’s trash problem over the past few years and his photos have helped raise awareness to the issue.  How many times have you been out photographing in nature and encountered trash?  I know I usually pack out a good amount of other’s people’s trash on every hiking trip I do.

While my family’s recycling can is as large as our garbage can (and typically fuller) I know we could be doing better.  What about your family?

One thought

  1. We recycle our soda cans. I’m sure there are a lot of other things we all consume and aren’t even aware of the impact from plastics to paper products. Try our best and encourage others is the best we can do.

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