Pollution affects our planet’s biodiversity through the air, the land, and the water. This article primarily focuses on land pollution, and its effects on our ecosystem.
Each and every day, the average United States resident is responsible for 4 lbs of trash. This presents enormous costs, dangers, and waste. And while the actual number of landfills in the United States has gone down in recent years, their mass continues to rise. Several factors contribute to the waste accumulation, but one of the most important contributors is the lack of recycling being done. Studies have shown that nearly 90% of the average citizen’s trash is in fact recyclable, yet only 26% actually gets recycled. A recent study broke down what is in the average citizen’s trash: 31% Paper, 13% Yard Debris, 13% Food scraps, 12% Plastics, 8% Metals, 8% Rubber and Leather, 7% Wood, 5% Glass, and 3% Other.
That overwhelming 31% paper content of trash is completely recyclable, yet much of it goes straight to landfills and waste locations. The 13% yard debris is also recyclable, and can be made into useful soils and other organic matter. The 13% food scrap contents can largely be easily compostable. If these practices were implemented in the average United States household, it would result in over half of their trash now being recycled.
The driving reason behind the efforts to reduce waste are the emissions waste management produces. Methane, along with several other dangerous gases negatively affect our environment and the ecosystem by contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. The major efforts to reduce waste are source-management, which is education on how to control human consumption in the first place, recycling efforts, and increased awareness of the benefits of composting. In addition, there have been increases in education and awareness of at-home practices including lawn care and home building design that have been proven to reduce, manage, and control waste produced by the United States.
Waste management is important to maintaining a healthy planet. Find out more at: