Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.
– New England proverb
I only feel angry when I see waste. When I see people throwing away things we could use.
– Mother Teresa
We are not to throw away those things which can benefit our neighbor. Goods are called good because they can be used for good: they are instruments for good, in the hands of those who use them properly.
– Clement of Alexandria
Build a school out of bottles in Guatemala http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3gl1wWJdTM&feature=player_embedded
The Earth is ours to enjoy
For every little girl and boy.
But we must always be aware.
That all its beauty we must share
With all the children yet to come,
Who want to laugh and play and run
Around the trees and in the fields.
So we must keep our planet free
From messy trash and debris
With air that’s clean and fresh and clear
For all to breathe from year to year.
We must never ever abuse
Our sweet Earth that’s ours to use.
At our exponential rate of consuming, we are proportionately producing waste. Waste is filling our land and contaminating our home. When landfill liners eventually wear down and degrade, all our toxic waste will be returned to the Earth. Buying new products cycling through them at a ridiculously fast rate is what our society has been taught to do. Food scraps, the year old tomatoes in the back of your fridge, the plastic bottles in the garbage can all be reused to complete the cycle and return it to the earth. Landfills cut off the cycle, making it linear. The garbage that ends up in the landfills is stuck there forever, not decomposing or reducing. Eventually, as our society grows, we must change our habits to accommodate the waste that we produce before we run out of space. Many products are designed to be recyclable or disposable made from plastic, metals, and chemicals. Although recycling is a large effort to reduce the amount of waste dumped in a landfill, it is not 100% efficient. It takes a lot of energy to recycle products such as plastics or paper and the end product of recycling is even less recyclable. Electronic waste is also very unsustainable. Although you can “recycle” some e-waste, a lot of chemicals leak into the environment when it is being recycled. Designing products that can be composted or reused is a first step for producers.
Did You Know?
- There is six times more plastic floating in our oceans than plankton
- Despite the rise of recycling, the average person generates twice as much trash today as in 1960, and most of this trash could be recycled or composted.
- The U.S. has 5% of the world’s population but we’re consuming 30% of the world’s resources and creating 30% of the world’s waste.
- Americans are said to throw away enough aluminum in three months to rebuild our entire commercial airline fleet
- Californians throw away more than 5 million tons of food scraps each year
- Californians create 46 million tons of trash a year, enough to fill 2 freeway lanes 100 feet deep from the Mexican to Oregon border.
Don’t Despair! Here are some easy solutions
1. Build a Cob Bench out of Eco-bricks
In May of 2011, students at UC Davis constructed a Cob Bench out of eco-bricks. An eco-brick is a disposable plastic bottle packed with plastic trash so tight, that it becomes a solid study foundation that can be used to make a bench. Cob is a building material made from clay, sand, straw, water, and soil. It is similar to adobe and when mixed together and dried, it forms a solid structure similar to concrete. Here’s how
2. Reduce, recycle and reuse on campus, at home, in the dorms, at work, and at your friends’ houses. If options are not available, make them available; most often, all you need are labeled bins for people to sort their waste into.
Additional Information and Resources:
- “The Story of Stuff” with Annie Leonard
A 20min video about where our products come from, how it’s sold, used, and disposed of
- Sustainable 2nd Century
On campus sustainability efforts including recycling and waste management
3065 W Capitol Ave
West Sacramento, CA 95691
This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 30th, 2009 at 8:01 am and is filed under \"Waste\". You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.