Out of sight, but in mind

You know that old saying, “out of sight out of mind?” Well, unfortunately, that phrase has serious repercussions when it comes to waste.

For most people, when stuff breaks or when we’ve had enough of it, we simply throw it into the garbage thinking our work is done–it’s out of our hands and no longer our responsibility. But have you ever really considered or processed where all of that trash goes?

Bad news… Americans alone generate approximately 251 MILLION tons of trash each DAY. That’s a lot of trash… AND the majority of that trash and the trash in the rest of the world eventually winds up in landfills where it takes hundreds and hundreds of years to decompose–landfills are designed to store waste, not to break it down.

And do you know what happens when that trash is sitting there?

Chemicals in the waste begin to contaminate soil all around it, thereby hurting plants, animals, and humans who come in contact with it. These chemicals also often spread to bodies of water, harming chemical levels in the water and destroying marine ecosystems. Garbage in landfills also cause HORRIBLE air pollution, releasing methane (yup, the same gas that cows fart) into the atmosphere as it wastes away, which has seriously dangerous implications for global warming and climate change. Methane is also a flammable gas that can become deadly when it builds up in concentration.

Okay, we know this is some intense stuff, but don’t get too disheartened–this is not an article about how hopeless the world is and how we are all doomed, because luckily there is some awesome work being done to combat these concerning facts.

Companies, organizations, and individuals around the world are taking major steps to reduce waste and lower their carbon footprints.

KitePride, is one example of a social business doing incredible work to protect the environment and save used material from landfill. How you ask? They ask Kitesurfers, windsurfers, sailors, and divers from around the world donate their used or broken sails, kitesurfing kites, wetsuits, and parachutes so that they can upcycle that material and turn it into durable, lightweight and trendy bags!

So, instead of all of that used material ending up in landfill, it’s ending up on the backs and shoulders of new people (who may not have had much use for it in its original form given that we’re not all pro kitesurfers!)

Feeling a bit more encouraged? Good. We need to be aware of where our waste goes in order to be more careful about what we throw away!

About the Author
A lover of environment, social change, travel and fitness