According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans generate more than 251 million tons of garbage each year. We are 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 our nasty, stinky trash disappear. How we manage waste — and how much we generate — is critical. It is an issue that has long-term environmental and economic consequences that we cannot afford to ignore.
Sadly, since 1960, the amount of waste generated in America has nearly tripled, according to www.kab.org. Every one of us — consumers, business and industry, and city, county, state, and national governments — should think proactively about reducing our impact. 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.
Our other important choice each day: We decide 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 are useful, we reduce the amount of garbage Liberty County has to deal with. Each of us makes 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 about 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.