The Impact of Trash and Overconsumption

Calum Hjelm, Editor

There’s an excess of waste going into American landfills from overproduction and people not properly disposing of their recyclables, and this is causing environmental concerns.

The average American throws out almost 2000 pounds of trash per household, yearly. Tomorrow city states, “Germany has the highest recycling rates in Europe thanks to waste collection requirements.” As a result, less glass, paper, and plastics go straight into landfills, and Germany only produces about 700 pounds of trash a year.

Food that could get composted but instead goes into landfills produces methane gas. Bridger Photonics states that, “While greenhouse gasses keep the earth warm, the increase in man-made methane emissions is the cause of global warming, decreases air quality, and releases carbon dioxide.” To combat this, start a compost it will benefit the environment and you get some rich soil!

All recyclables take years to decompose: your toothbrush, paper plates, milk cartons, and countless other disposable items have a lifespan stretching over decades. While recycling is better than putting trash in landfills, it excuses overconsumption and makes people think the waste they recycle isn’t really waste. Recycling still costs energy and money. America has a problem with overproducing, making cheap goods as fast as possible. Buying cheap products that won’t last instead of getting things that will last a lifetime. 

The ultimate solution to save things from going into landfills and stop over consuming is to only buy what you really need that will last long and dispose of things you have properly. For example, instead of going clothes shopping every weekend, trade your old clothes with a friend or repair things with holes.

Not everyone can be zero waste all the time but small things can help. Carrying a reusable bottle or giving your clothes to a thrift store instead of throwing them out are examples of useful ways to contribute. If everyone in America started doing little things each day, it would help the environment tremendously. So start composting or  recycling, it’s our job to keep the earth clean because we only get one.