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Where does garbage go when we trash it?
Karen Bell
Keep Liberty Beautiful Executive Director Karen Bell.

Americans generate more than 251 million tons of garbage each year, making us the trashiest country in the world. 

Garbage isn’t always pleasant to think about. Most of us take for granted that when we empty our trash cans in our polycarts or at the Solid Waste Convenience Centers, the “trash fairies” come and make all of our nasty, stinky trash disappear. 

How that is actually managed, and how much waste we generate is, in fact, critical. It is an issue that has long-term environmental and economic consequences we cannot afford to ignore.

Sadly, since 1960, the amount of waste generated in America has nearly tripled. Our society as a whole, including consumers, business and industry and all of our city, county, state, and national governments, must continue to think proactively about reducing our impact. That includes all of us. We’re in this together.

We, as consumers, make two important choices every day that affect the amount of waste that we produce in our community. First, we decide what products to buy or use. By choosing recycled, recyclable or reusable products, we can extend the life of a product and of those resources used to create it and keep them out of the landfill. 

By purchasing a product with less packaging or a different kind of packaging, we can reduce the amount of waste we produce every day. By purchasing recycled products, we help to encourage a market for the recycled material. This is referred to as “completing the loop.” 

When we support recycled products by choosing to purchase them, we help increase the demand for those items. Consumer demand is a powerful factor affecting the waste stream. Our purchasing decisions can make a difference.

Just think about those reusable straws we just had made as our volunteer appreciation gift for this year. If even 100 of us stop asking for a straw at a fast food location or restaurant, imagine the impact. All it takes is taking your reusable one with you and when asked if you’d like a straw, just tell the restaurant to keep it.

Our other important choice each day is deciding what will happen to the products we use when we are finished with them. 

• Can we reuse them?

• Can we recycle them?

• Are they compostable?

• Can someone else use them?

Reduce, reuse, recycle – that is what this is all about.

How and when items enter the waste stream is up to us. By extending the amount of time items and resources can be useful, we are reducing how much garbage Liberty County has to deal with. Each of us has an impact that affects all of us. 

A key part of our mission at Keep Liberty Beautiful is to create awareness in our local community of the choices we have and the consequences of our choices. We all need to consider which choices support sensible and sustainable ways of dealing with our waste and keeping our environment healthy. Acting on these healthy choices every day will ensure a better quality of life for all of us in Liberty County. 

For more information contact us by phone at 912-880-4888 or email

Here are dates to remember for fall KLB events: 

• The next quarterly Recycle It! Fair & Shred Days from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 15 at the Liberty County Health Department, Walthourville City Hall and East End Community Complex in Midway.

• The Liberty County Chamber of Commerce Progress through People Luncheon is Sept. 20. RSVP is required.

• The annual St. Catherines Beach Sweep is Oct. 13.

• The 13th annual Rivers Alive in Liberty County is Oct. 27.  

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