small changes can lead to big differences.

Monday, November 22, 2010

tonnes of trash

From the National Post:
"EU inspectors touring the rubbish-strewn streets of Naples said on Monday that Italy had failed to make good on pledges to solve the city’s chronic garbage crisis and warned EU funds would be frozen until it did.
More than 10,000 tonnes of trash have piled up in and around Italy’s third biggest city as available dumps are near saturation point, and the only existing incinerator is still not working at full capacity.
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s government was forced to scrap plans for a new landfill near Naples without an alternative solution after a month-long protest by residents complaining an existing site had led to a foul stench and toxic waste being dumped near their houses."

My questions are:

What'll happen to all of the trash? Will they burn it, bury it, throw it in a landfill? What will become of all of the chemicals, and what will happen when all of these chemicals combine?

We all know what's gonna happen - they'll find some way to make it disappear, just like we do here in the states. What else can we really do that is cost effective, quick, and easy?

I don't think we can go on with this much longer. America is running out of space as it is, and we have begun shipping tons of our trash to third world countries. How is that right? Not to mention the mass amounts of air pollution released every day and the large amount of chemicals being leaked into the soil.

While these problems sound like things only scientists can solve, they're really simple, and it begins with people like you and me. For starters, start remembering your reusable bag every time you go to the grocery store. One less bag means one less piece of plastic that will cost money & equipment (and oil) to recycle, one less potential hazard that'll end up in the stomach of animals or flying around trees, etc.
If you forget your bag, try getting paper bags instead.

You can be creative with your reusable bags, too! I've carried things in duffel bags, in my purse, in beach bags.. any bag I have, I use! I don't care, as long as it's not plastic! 

Another great idea is produce bags. You can get any size, color or shape on etsy! They eliminate another use for plastic bags & they make shopping more fun!

This set is only $6! you can't go wrong! 

I always bring my own coffee mug to Starbucks or my local coffee house. Most places will only charge you for a small & they'll fill your mug all the way up to the top! It's a win-win-win situation. Less garbage, less money, more coffee-- kind of essential, especially in the morning!

By packing your own lunch, you eliminate the use for food packaging and you save money (and probably your health, too). Most of the garbage I see on the streets are food wrappers and bags. These things are hard to recycle as well, especially fast food wrappers. Plus, they're bad for you.  Even if you pack just one snack a day in a tupperware container (you can get super fun ones on etsy, mod cloth, etc!) you save money and the environment. It makes a big difference.

No more bottled water. SERIOUSLY. If you haven't already, watch the story of bottled water - it'll shed a lot of light on the bottled water industry. Invest in a reusable water bottle & a brita filter. There is no reason you should have to PAY for water, and the less bottled water there is (because like plastic bags, recycling bottled water isn't very cost effective & uses a lot of energy & resources) the better for all of us.

Now, to begin my rant:

One of my biggest things is when people assume that nothing bad will happen in our lifetime or they think other people will take care of the problem for them. It's sort of like the recession; most people assume the government will fix it but the reality is, if you keep shopping at places like Wal-mart, K-mart, Kohls, etc., you are supporting big corporations, overseas jobs, and hurting our economy even more. I'm not one of those people who says "America is great! Buy American! We are the best, yay yay yay!" but we, as a nation, are completely un-self sustainable (is that the right way of saying that? grammar help?) and un-self reliable that in order for us to actually have a true economy, we have to be able to create jobs. That means people need to start realizing that even though wal-mart has the lowest prices, and they're saving you money, are they (or companies like wal-mart) indirectly related to you or someone you know losing their job? Are they actually the reason you have to save as much money as humanely possible? Something to think about. But anyway, what I was getting at was that you, yourself - you need to step up to the plate. You need to start thinking about the impact you make every day on yourself, the environment and the economy.

I know, ohhh I know how easy it is to take a bag of trash out and poof! it's gone, out of your life, and into someone else's or into the landfill - and you're probably okay with that. But I know for a fact that there's a small part of you - maybe it's very tiny and almost like a whisper, but it's there - that knows you ought to do the right thing, or that you should care just a bit more. It's hard and you're going to be breaking some habits, but in order to save this planet we live on and to even save our dear country, we are all going to have to break some habits because these are the habits that got us into these ruts in the first place. I want you to please just do something. Be part of this change, and inspire other people to do the same. I can't tell you how many people I have directly and indirectly inspired just by doing what I do day in and day out. I even got my die-hard, republican, "I don't think you have an opinion because you're my daughter and how could you even think for yourself and form ideas that are different than mine?" father to start bringing reusable bags to the store. (he even runs out to get them out of the car if they forget!)

You may not think that you, just one person, can make a difference.. but you can. and you will. believe it because it's true. And besides that, just being conscious and doing something different in your life that helps the environment or helps another person or anything! (say, bringing your own coffee mug to work instead of using their styrofoam cups) will probably make you feel better anyway!

I hope you were able to follow that! Or at least some of it!!


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