Do you remember the opening scene of WALL-E?
In the movie, we enter on an Earth that has been entirely abandoned and left behind, piled up with heaps of trash as high as skyscrapers, save for a single, friendly, garbage-crushing robot named WALL-E.
The cause? Mass consumerism, alongside a distinct lack of foresight about its possible consequences.
Now, WALL-E was never really designed to make a damning statement about consumerism, at least not in the beginning. Rather, the film’s focus is at its core: relationships, love and nostalgia for a simpler time. But the movie does make a valid point:
Are the wasteful habits and routines that we make for ourselves damaging our ability to live a wholesome, healthy life on Earth?
The Landfill Issue
This year, premier alternate energy resource, SaveOnEnergy, released a fantastic study and interactive map entitled: Land of Waste: American Landfills and Waste Production. You can find it on their website, here!
The study covers everything you’ve ever wanted to know about our waste trends and the state of America’s landfills. We all have those burning questions:
- How much of an issue is it, really?
- Are we actually running out of room for our trash?
- Where are the landfills, anyways? I’ve never seen one.
For most of us, “out of sight, out of mind” could hit our ideas about trash right on the head! We don’t deal with trash in our everyday lives. We buy it, we use it, we toss it and a wonderful human being in a big truck takes it away from our homes to an unknown location where it will live for the rest of its days. Also known as forever.
According to SaveOnEnergy, the average American tosses 4.4 pounds of trash every single day.
Every. Single Day.
That’s roughly 728,000 tons of garbage daily—an amount that could fill 63,000 garbage trucks.
Land of Waste
It can be extremely difficult to wrap our minds around the impact of our waste. 728,000 tons? What does that mean to me?
The problem with this abstraction is that the removed, hidden nature of the waste industry (or “trash trade“) keeps us in the dark. We don’t know the extent or the impact of our waste and so we carry on. We keep producing trash like there is no tomorrow, though there is. And it matters.
This ignorance of our impact on the Earth is exactly what the team at SaveOnEnergy is hoping to prevent.
What You Can Do
- Learn! Explore the Land of Waste study and learn about the state of American waste over time.
- Cut back! Bring reusable bags when you go shopping, refuse to take home plastic and opt for reusable containers when packing meals.
- Buy in bulk and deny double packaging.
- Compost your food scraps and either use the compost at home in your own garden or donate to a community that can use it.
- Cut back on paper use, cardboard and junk mail. Remove yourself from as many mailing lists as possible, refuse paper statements and reuse printed paper as scrap paper.
To learn more about landfills in America, where your trash goes, and what you can do about it, please visit the SaveOnEnergy website.