Trash, garbage, waste, refuse, debris, rubbish. These are all terms for items that we don’t want anymore. We throw them away. Where do they go?
More than half of the garbage we throw away ends up in landfills. Landfills are holes built into the earth with liners to contain the trash. But the trash doesn’t go anywhere; it doesn’t break down. Plus, is there enough room on our planet to continue burying huge amounts of garbage?
Some garbage is burned in an incinerator. This produces harmful chemicals that are released into the air.
Billions of pieces of trash end up in our rivers, lakes, and oceans. Floating trash gathers into huge garbage patches in the ocean. One patch in the Pacific Ocean is twice the size of Texas! Most of the floating trash is plastic, which doesn’t decompose. The garbage patch may be in the ocean forever. Sometimes dolphins, seabirds or other animals mistake the garbage for food. Plastic can’t be digested, their stomachs get blocked, and the animals die.
Keep in mind the three R’s!
- Reduce – buy and use only what you need
- Reuse – find a second use for trash
- Recycle – buy recycled products and take your paper, plastics, and glass to be recycled
So instead of throwing something away, why not try to reuse it? Or recycle it? And reduce - think before you buy. Keep in mind how much packaging goes with the product.