Reducing waste is a critical step towards environmental sustainability. A growing number of people all over the world are recognizing the problems with waste and the measures we need to take to minimize it.
The United States, in particular, has a problem with waste production. We need to take drastic steps to reduce the amount of waste our citizens create each year.
It is Time to Make Waste Reduction a Priority in America
According to the newest research on countries that are fueling the waste crisis, America is hands down a leader in this field. The research shows that US citizens and businesses are the largest contributors to the waste problem across all the indicators they measured. An average American generates 773kg (1704 pounds) of waste per year or 12% of global MSW (239 million tons).
We all make waste. We simply can’t avoid it. And the problem is that we make waste that can’t be processed naturally. And this wasn’t always the case. Humans created societies where there is a lot of trash but our “primitive” ancestors functioned differently.
Now we have packaging and in the “old days” you didn’t need any packaging. You would buy meat at a butcher store and you would go to a baker if you wanted to buy a loaf of bread. You carried this home in your basket and ate it. However, modern times brought commercial goods that have to be transported from one city to another, or one country to another, or even one continent to another. This is why all the products have some kind of protective packaging. When we bring those products home, we remove all the packaging material and just toss it into the garbage can. Less than 20% of all the waste we create in such a manner is recycled each year. This is the problem. We need to find additional modern and efficient methods in junk disposal situations or just stop generating all that waste.
We are All in The Same Problem
Researchers from all over the world found that this civilization produces about 2.3 billion tons of solid waste each year. And as we already said, only 16% of all that waste is recycled and 46% is disposed of in ways that harm the environment.
We are the main cause of this problem, whether you like it or not. The population is just getting larger, the economies are only becoming bigger, and urbanization as a direct consequence of a growing population. If we fail to react on time, the global population will reach 10 billion people by the year 2050. This is why we, as a civilization, need to improve our ability to process garbage. And the U.S. is one of the worst when it comes to recycling, according to the before-mentioned analysis
Additionally, as the Guardian reported earlier The U.S. is the only developed nation whose waste production outstrips its ability to recycle, underscoring a shortage of political will and investment in infrastructure. Back in 2018 President Trump’s proposed new fiscal budget, the Environmental Protection Agency lost 31% of its budget, about 50 programs, and 3,200 jobs. However, the U.S. is not the only developed country that doesn’t care about waste recycling.
How Some People Make Only a Jar of Trash a Year?
There is a movement called “zero-waste movement” or “zero-waste lifestyle”. According to some sources, this movement is based on a set of principles focused on waste prevention. They encourage the redesign of resource life cycles so that all products are reused. They plan to make all the waste recyclable and to prevent the trash to be sent to landfills, ocean, or even incinerators. In other words, the plan is to create as little garbage as possible. You can’t make everyone recycle and you can’t recycle everything. This is why “Zero-Waste” is so important.
To live this way, you need to buy fresh food instead of packaged, sometimes buy in bulk because it is cheaper, clean up a kitchen spill with a cloth towel instead of paper towel, and maybe even try making your cleaning products because they are healthier.
Waste Reduction Must Be Our Top Priority in 2020
It feels weird to worry about trash while buying groceries or anything in that matter, but this is the only way to stop creating waste. Many of the solutions to cutting waste are practices that were common before the era of plastics and disposable products.
For example, this means that you should use cloth napkins, vinegar, and water for cleaning, glass, or stainless-steel containers to pack left-overs, bring cloth grocery bags when shopping, etc. These solutions are the only way we can stop the production of waste.
Potential title: US Creates 3x More Waste Than Average – How Can We Change This?
Tagline: The US creates 3x more waste than the global average. Why does this happen, and what can we do to change this problem? Read on for more information.