Trash. It’s usually not something to which we give much thought. We create it, throw it out, have it picked up by that noisy truck far too early in the morning, and it goes to some magical place where it will stay. Well, much of it doesn’t actually stay there, and we will get into that shortly.
Your trash combines with everyone else’s to create one big trash mountain. It’s like a trash stew that tremendously impacts our lives and the world. So here are some interesting facts about your trash and what happens when combined with everyone else’s trash.
You Generate a Lot of Trash
Yes, you do, I do, we all do. Americans generate about 4.4 lbs of trash daily, almost twice as much as the global average of 2.6 lbs per day. As 4% of the world’s population, we generate 12% of the total trash produced.
On top of the 4.4 lbs of trash, the EPA says we recycle and compost another 1.5 lbs daily.
Some studies indicate that those numbers might actually be very low.
Some fundamental lifestyle changes, like reusable shopping bags or buying reduced packaging items, can greatly reduce how much we throw away.
Your Trash Travels Much Further Than You Think
Not every city buries its trash nearby. MIT researchers tracked 3000 pieces of Seattle trash in 2009 and found out it ended up all over the country. The garbage from New York City is shipped out of state to states like New Jersey, Ohio, and other areas. In Kentucky, one dump was 80 to 90 percent waste from other states.
Tell that half of a stale Twinkie in your trash to enjoy its voyage, see some sites, get some sun, and maybe send a postcard.
Lose Something in Your Trash? You Might Be Able to Get It Back
Well, unless you are that guy in England with a hard drive somewhere in the local landfill with $250,000,000 in Bitcoin on it. Some cities allow you to report a lost item after you’ve accidentally thrown it out.
Items of significant value can be reported within several hours in some cities like Albuquerque so that there is a chance to get them back. If it is your extensive collection of giant lint balls that got thrown out, don’t plan on it having significant value.
Dogs Really Like Peeing On It
Yes, dogs see a trash bag on the sidewalk as the preferred place to take a bathroom break. It’s a new feature of the landscape and, therefore, fascinating. Also, there are certainly some exciting smells in there, so your trash bag may as well be the world’s tallest broadcast tower for dogs.
Some of Your Trash Might End Up in the World’s Oceans
An estimated 8 million metric tons of plastic reach the world’s oceans yearly, which equals five grocery bags filled with plastic for every foot of the earth’s shoreline. Unfortunately, it is becoming an ecological disaster, and your reduced use of plastics or demanding recycled plastics does make a difference.
There’s much more to trash than remembering when it’s trash day. Every bag or bin we haul out signifies our usage of the world’s resources and our commitment to the environment. Our trash represents a lot to humans, not just our dogs.