Despite making up only 5% of the world’s population, the United States produces 30% of the world’s waste. Estimates say that Americans, in one year, throw away approximately 26,800,000 tons of food, 8,550,000 tons of furniture, and 6,330,000 tons of clothing, shoes, and other waste. Also, estimates claim that people in the U.S. throw away enough trash every day to fill 70,000 garbage collection trucks.
When you factor in that most consumer products today are designed to be disposable, you can see how this problem isn’t going to get any better any time soon.
In too many instances, items such as computers, batteries, electronics, and chemicals are thrown in with the regular trash, which creates an environmental hazard.
In this article, we’re going to examine how best to dispose of your trash and how it impacts the environment.
Although it’s an extra step, taking the time to separate what can be recycled from your regular trash is a big help to the environment. When doing spring cleaning or any other big cleaning project, determine which of your bulk items can go to the landfill or what you can recycle. Most furniture made with metal or wood is recyclable. Some plastics are also recyclable, although it’s best to check. If you find that a piece of furniture isn’t recyclable, consider selling it or donating it to a charity or shelter rather than having it go to the dump.
Properly Dispose of Appliances
It’s incredible to see how many appliances we accumulate, and nearly all of these appliances take forever to break down when taken to a landfill. If you have devices that don’t work, or you want to throw away, a smart move is to call a professional junk removal service. These companies know how to properly dispose of these items in a way that causes the least harm to the environment. Also, if the appliance works, but you don’t want it anymore, consider donating it or passing it along to someone who can use it.
Be Mindful of Electronics
Electronics, computers and cell phones, in particular, create what’s called e-waste or electronic waste, and it’s a big problem. While the effects on the environment aren’t genuinely known since e-waste is a newer type of garbage, some scientists say the environmental impact is significant. Many of our computers and electronics contain heavy metals — lead, barium, mercury, lithium — and when thrown into a landfill, these metals seep into the soil and get into the groundwater. People who depend on this water could be drinking carcinogens and not know it.
Because of the potential health concerns throwing away electronics represents, it’s responsible to properly dispose of these items in a manner that won’t impact the environment.
Today, many companies will come and collect computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices for recycling. If you don’t have a company locally, there are a number online where you can send these items.
Lastly, if you have computers or cell phones that work, consider donating those to a charity or school.
Chemicals and Drugs
Many people pour old chemicals or unused medications down the drain or into the toilet. Disposing of these items in this fashion leads to water pollution and contamination. If you have unused medications, most towns now have drug take-back programs where you can drop off these items where they’ll be appropriately disposed. The same is true for chemicals. Most chemical products have on the labels how to properly dispose of them, so they have minimal impact on the environment.
Reduce Air Pollution
In some communities, burning trash is an acceptable way to deal with the problem. Most trash burning is fine. Things like leaves, grass clippings, cardboard and paper, and even some fabrics are ok to burn. But, many items, such as plastics and rubber, release toxic fumes when burned, which leads to air pollution. Although most municipalities regulate the backyard burning of trash, people do it anyway. If you’re interested in protecting the environment, do a little homework to see what’s acceptable to burn and what needs to be recycled or removed by a trash removal services.
We’re all part of the environment, and we depend on our environment being clean and safe for our survival. Properly disposing of trash — relocating it away from human populations — helps keep the air and the water we consume pure and safe. When some garbage is burned or breaks down, it causes air pollution, which can lead to respiratory illness for some people.
Safely disposing of trash and taking it to proper recycling facilities or approved landfills reduces the biohazards that come with mountains of trash. Many landfills utilize specialized liners to prevent toxic chemicals from getting into the groundwater and are mindful of what type of waste is incinerated.
Recycle, Recycle, Recycle
It can’t be stressed enough, but recycling unwanted or unused items is one of the best ways to help the environment. Your items not going to a dump or landfill goes a long way to keeping the environment clean. Not only does this reduce the amount of stuff in the landfill, but it reduces the number of toxins that seep into the ground as products break down.
As stated above, the best ways to recycle unused or unwanted items is to donate them to charities or shelters. If you can’t do that, consider selling them online or have a garage sale.
As you can see, there are considerable benefits to the environment and our overall health to responsibly disposing of trash. If you do have waste that you don’t know what to do with, many professional junk removal services can assist you and ensure your waste is disposed of safely and adequately.