It’s not a secret that we are running out of space to dump our waste. Landfills are on the rise, and even though recycling is becoming more popular, it doesn’t seem like there will be an end in sight anytime soon.
We consume a lot of materials in our daily living that end up in the garbage bin. Apparently, the appalling result is a continuously increasing pile of trash which then proceeds to landfills.
Eliminating solid waste is reducing the amount of waste that goes to landfills. Reduce, reuse, and recycle are the most known methods to reduce landfill waste. Landfill waste poses a high-risk problem to the economy and has an environmental impact.
Some people have successfully adapted to a lifestyle of conserving and recycling. However, the harsh reality is that an average person makes far more trips to the landfills every year than they might think. This is despite the call to switch to recyclable and reusable products.
A landfill site not only has an impact on the tourism industry but also badly pollutes clean water and air. Polluted air and water have a negative effect on our marine life, and can also negatively affect the health of humans and animals.
Lifestyle changes to lessen landfill waste?
- Eat healthily. Always think about healthier food that doesn’t require as much disposable waste in the form of packaging. Reuse old shopping bags and containers for maximum efficiency and effectively. Even better, switch to cloth bags instead. Do not buy fast food take out as often either.
- Choose items with less packaging. Stock up on food in the freezer. Make a list of food items that you need to buy so you wouldn’t have to keep going back and forth in the grocery. You can then keep it in the freezer. If possible, buy your supplies in bulk instead of retail. Buying in bulk means less packaging and less waste.
- Stop wasting food. Food is another item that we often just carelessly throw away without any qualm. Every year, a very high percentage of food is left uneaten, adding up to the accumulated waste in landfills. Instead of simply getting rid of it, try to make good use of it. With hunger being a huge global crisis, giving extra food to less fortunate people will not only help us lessen our waste but also gives us a chance to bless others.
- Instead of throwing old clothes, try donating. Donating clothes to others is a great way to clear your space without adding to the existing garbage problem. Used and unwanted clothing is one of the biggest contributions we’ve made to landfills. As we update our closets, we usually pick clothes we no longer like, which ends up in the garbage and from there, to the landfill. Instead of getting rid of these old clothes, make better use of it. Donate clothes to people in need or to donation centers, or do a garage sale. You know what they say, another man’s rubbish is another man’s pleasure.
- Stop buying bottled water. Empty plastic bottles have become a constant eyesore in parks, streets, and other public places. People go around buying bottled water thinking one bottle wouldn’t do the earth much harm. It is crucial for us to realize that if millions of people see water bottles that way, we should not be surprised by the number of plastic bottles taking up so much space in landfills. It’s high time we help save the environment by switching to reusable glass bottles. This way, you won’t contribute to the mountains of bottles in landfills or in the bottom of the ocean.
- Clean smarter. Instead of buying detergent chemical solutions from the supermarket to clean your drains, use baking soda and vinegar for your cleaning activity. Baking soda has countless uses and neither vinegar or baking soda. This way, you can avoid tons of bottles and plastic wrappers used to pack cleaning agents.
- Buy only what you need. People are easily tempted to rack up their savings for the things they want, only to end up with too much junk at home. This junk often ends up in the trash, leaving your wallet in havoc as well. The lesson is to not buy unnecessary items. This will lead to cutting down on the number of trips made to the landfill. Re-evaluate your priorities and be mindful of what you need to throw away.
Ways to manage our waste to reduce trips to the landfill
Composting is not only easy but also highly sustainable. Put together food scraps, fruit and vegetable peels, and place them into a pit in your backyard. Small space living is not an excuse, too. It is easy to create a makeshift pit in a bucket to put your compost in. This process repurposes waste into a nutrient-rich food that helps your plant grow.
Need to get rid of old glass bottles or aluminum cans? Instead of throwing them straight, keep a recycle bin at your home to place paper, metal, plastic cups, and old soda cans. Most rural areas have a recycling station in town. Try to ask around for a recycling station to check your options in waste management and disposal.
Switch to rechargeables
Rechargeable batteries can save your money and will also keep disposable batteries out of landfills. Batteries can cause a very high risk to the environment as chemicals inside the batteries can leak. Although rechargeable batteries do not last forever, the fact that you can reuse them somehow alleviates our waste control problem.
A simple habit of bringing an old shopping bag can change the hundreds of plastic bags that will end up in landfills. Repurposing empty wine or beer bottles into lamps, vinegar and oil dispensers will also be a great help in creating more space in landfills.
Common questions on how to get rid of landfills
What happens to the garbage in landfills?
Contrary to popular belief, landfills are there to store waste and not break them down. Even so, due to the presence of oxygen and bacteria in open landfills, garbage may still decompose over time.
Are we running out of landfills?
No. New landfills get built every year as an answer to the world’s growing population. Landfill capacity, on the other hand, needs constant improvement to be able to accommodate all the wastes we produce. This should be a reminder for us to be more mindful of our purchases and choose items producing less garbage.
How long does a landfill last?
Depending on maintenance, a common landfill can last anywhere from 30 to 50 years.
It is easy to think of a landfill as a magical place where our trash gets processed, enough to make us care less about our lifestyle. However, we should remember that the world’s population keeps increasing every year, which equates to more wastes to be processed. Soon enough, we could face another problem that is landfill shortage. Before it happens, we should start rethinking our choices and changing our lifestyles.