Trash is deceptive. When we put something in the trash, or throw it “away,” we don’t think about it anymore. But once an item is created and used, throwing it in the trash doesn’t mean it vanishes.
Most trash ends up in landfills, overflowing mountains of garbage we don’t see, but which will still be here hundreds and even thousands of years from now for future generations to somehow deal with.
According to the Keep America Beautiful website, Americans generate 250 million tons of garbage per year, and since 1960, the amount of waste generated in the US has nearly tripled.
In the landfill, items we throw away slowly decompose and mix with what others have tossed. Toxic chemical cocktails can form and leach into the soil, eventually reaching our water stream. Sometimes trash is burned, polluting the air we breathe. When we transport our trash to landfills or incinerators, we consume even more energy, making the garbage problem an environmental double-whammy.