Many organizations within the United States believe that America has been struck with a “trash crisis”, however, this is not truly case from the recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) facts for 2010. Before, we start let us take a moment to discuss what trash or municipal solid waste (MSW) is. MSW is the collection of commonly used items that discarded by the general populace, many of these include packaging, food scraps, grass clippings, sofas, computers, tires and house appliances (EPA). Although the information from the EPA shows that the waste in pounds per person has increase from 3.66 to 4.43 in the time frame of 1980 and 2010, it is the amount the being recycled that has increased substantially going from a meager 10% in 1980 to about 34% in 2010. This had lead to a decrease in waste disposal by landfill by about 35% from year of 1980 taking it down from 84% then to 54% in 2010. The increase in recycling is put simply because the massive environmental campaigns in states, improvements in recycling technology, as well as thrift shopping.
Many Americans now, almost every day do some form of thrift shopping or thrifting. Thrifting is act of shopping at a thrift store, flea market, or garage sale in hopes of finding items that interesting at a cheap price or as a way of providing for one’s family. Since the economic downturn, many Americans are actually turning to thrifting to provide for their families, either shopping at dollar stores for their food, cleaning, and school supplies to shopping at Big Lots for everyday home appliances and clothing. They are smart shoppers looking for the best “bang for their bucks” so to speak. In truth thrifting isn’t regarding as an option “for the poor” anymore but for financially conscience shoppers that looking for good deals, looking to save and put away money for unforeseen events, as well as those who seek to be environmentally active in saving a planet.
Another power is being used to decrease our landfills, is technology. Technology from the 1980’s to present has allowed things possible that many only dreamed possible. Corporations are going from using wasteful paper to sending information digitally through emails, websites, and text messages. This has an impact on landfills because most of the space being used by landfills are from commerce and industry segments and not the residential segment. Technology has made recycling even easier allowing for businesses to create incentives, to change from a wasteful plastic product to a easily recyclable paper one. With technology continuing to grow and change we might even see newer more creative scientific ways of converting matter to another useable substance either through chemical means or through energy itself.
Recycling has increase in part to thrifting but only by a small variable mark, most of the increase has happened because states are making the option readily available. This is done by creating curb side recycling programs within the state encouraging as many people possible to participate. We also have to realize that recycling isn’t just residential recycling but the combination of commercial and industrial recycling which account for the largest amounts used in landfills. Corporations looking to lower their cost have turned to recycling as the answer. It allows them to reuse current materials that are no longer in great condition and make then into the same product or something different. Recycling also has health benefits as when landfills shrink a lot of the germs and bacteria growing there will be shrinking with them. It also creates cleaner more fresh air which scientist attribute to majority of the breathing problems people face now.
We here in America take so many things for granted and then largely become overly accepting of how things are that we forget how they were. We need to spend more time informing our youth and our communities about the positive effects recycling has on our neighborhoods, communities, states, nation and most importantly our one and only planet Earth. Since our nation is growing and changing, newer technology will help reduce trash build up and with creative innovative approaches to get more people to recycle we can make a nation where trash concerns are the least of our problems and breathing fresh air isn’t figment of a dream but a reality.
Clean Air Council. (n.d.). Waste and Recycling Facts. Retrieved July 28, 2012, from Clean Air Council: http://www.cleanair.org/Waste/wasteFacts.html/ EPA. (n.d.). Municipal Solid Waste Generation, Recycling, and Disposal in the United States: Facts and Figures for 2010. Retrieved July 28, 2012, from
EPA: United States Environmental Protection Agency: http://www.epa.gov/osw/nonhaz/municipal/pubs/msw_2010_rev_factsheet.pdf Learn the Issues: Waste. (n.d.). Retrieved July 28, 2012, from EPA: United States Environmental Protection Agency: http://www.epa.gov/gateway/learn/wastes.html The Free Dictionary.com. (n.d.). Thrift. Retrieved July 27, 2012, from The Free Dictionary.com: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/thrift Wikipedia. (n.d.). Thrifting. Retrieved July 28, 2012, from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thrifting