Did you know that the average American produces 4.3 pounds of trash a day? A DAY?!? That daily average turns into 220 million tons of trash produced per year in the United States. Where does it all end up?
If your like me, you probably haven’t really given much thought to what happens to your trash once it leaves your curb. I honestly thought that since we recycled, we were doing our part. But here’s some truth about trash:
All of our trash ends up in one of the 3,500 landfills in the country.
Landfills are pits in the ground. The ground that it sits on is protected by a plastic liner that is designed to keep the land underneath from becoming polluted.
As the trash in landfills begins to break down, it produces a nasty liquid called leachate. Leachate is a highly toxic combination of liquefied food, rain, and household chemicals. Even though landfills do use systems that are designed to keep this liquid from seeping into the ground, unfortunately, over time these systems break down and the liners covering the ground begin to leak. These leaks allow leachate to seep into the ground, polluting both soil and water.
Now if soil and ground water pollution isn’t bad enough, there is also the issue of methane gas. Methane is a greenhouse gas that traps heat in the atmosphere. This gas is one of the biggest contributor to global warming and according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) landfills are the third largest source of methane emissions in the country.
So what can one person or one family do to make an impact on our countries trash addiction? For our family, we have decided to strive for a zero-waste lifestyle. We will be chronicling our journey here on the blog. Much more to come!