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'Trash talk' includes harrowing statistics

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POSTED: August 12, 2014 8:30 p.m.
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Make recycling a habit and it is as easy as handling garbage.

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It’s time to talk trash for a few minutes.
Sure, it is so easy to toss something in the trash instead of recycling it. Many people seem to think that trash just miraculously disappears once it is dumped in a trash can. I am afraid that some people never have given a thought about where trash ends up when it “disappears.”
Unfortunately, trash is only hiding, lurking in landfills that most of us never even think about until someone suggests putting one near where we live.
Trash is bad news whether we can see it or not. In reality, trash is a downer on our economy, environment and future generations.
According to Edward Humes, a Pulitzer Prize winner and author of “Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash,” the average American creates more than 100 tons of garbage in a lifetime.
The good news, he writes, is that people can slash their trash accumulation by 30 to 50 percent without much effort at all.
I believe that. At our home, we easily create 60 to 70 percent less trash than in our pre-recycling trashy life.
It has not been that hard. My husband has joined in — at first, kicking and screaming, but now he is quite comfortable recycling several items. He started with the easiest thing for him — his beer bottles. He has graduated to recycling many other items, like cardboard, lightboard (packing for food and product boxes, like cereal boxes), glass containers, plastics, paper and even junk mail. Good going, Lindsay!
Truly, if Lindsay can learn to recycle, anyone can. Just start with the items that are easiest for you.
As further incentive, consider some of these shocking facts from “Garbology,” posted on prevention.com, about what we are wasting each year when we toss:
• Americans throw away at least 28 billion pounds of food a year, the equivalent of 25 percent of the country’s food supply.
• On an average day, Americans toss 694 water containers a minute.
• Americans waste 4.5 million tons of office paper a year.   
• The average American uses 500 plastic shopping bags a year. Even more depressing is that these bags are the second-most common type of trash found on beaches.
• We could heat 250,000 homes with the energy dedicated to making a day’s worth of junk mail.
• American parents buy and throw away 40 percent of the world’s toys, despite the fact that only 4 percent of the world’s children live in the United States. Families can buy fewer toys and purchase second-hand ones.
• Communities spend more money dealing with trash than for schoolbooks, fire protection, libraries and parks.
Check out our website, www.keeplibertybeautiful.org, for ideas to fight your trashy ways by reusing or recycling these items.  

Community honored
Keep Liberty Beautiful recently received a nice surprise in the form of a $1,000 award from Nestle Pure Life, one of the national sponsors for Keep America Beautiful’s Great American Cleanup.
Our community is one of 25 in America receiving this award for having the top recycling collection of PET plastics (water and soda bottles) in our population category in 2013.
Those statistics are attributed to the awesome support for Midway Middle School’s participation in the national Pepsico Recycle Rally competition and all of the dedicated recyclers in our community. Thanks to all of you!
Recycling really can pay off: since 2013 Midway Middle School has won $36,000 that will help pay for eco-friendly improvement projects at the school.
This additional $1,000 award is just more evidence of what a truly outstanding community we have. The funds will be used to support more community-improvement projects in Liberty County.
We can all break out of a “trashy lifestyle.” Join us by calling 880-4888 or emailing klcb@coastalnow.net.

 

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