Look in your garbage

Gaze into the future, look in your garbage bin and think about the waste!

Think Zero Waste and chances are you will be embroiled in spirited debate over whether it is a concept, a physical, or a cultural idiom. CO2Land org suggests it is carbon management program and distinctly an approach to risk and opportunity, with products that evolve with the strategy. It is with consternation that Mother Jones published that “in the United States, we hear “zero waste” and think sanctimonious yuppies. But lets look at the rubbish facts and think:

  • The US has a big trash problem, but China’s will soon be even worse.
  • Projected World Trash Generation, increases per person by 2025 lbs./year
  •  Richer countries generate more paper waste, one third of it because of packaging

Poor countries have a very high proportion of organic waste such as food scraps or grass clippings. Paper, on the other hand, is the single largest component of waste in high-income countries; in the United States, one person generates 705 pounds of paper waste each year. According to an EPA report on trash in the US, one-third of that paper waste comes from the corrugated cardboard boxes in which nearly everything they buy gets packaged and shipped.

In the EPA report you will find composition data for China is missing from this analysis and India’s reporting it highly suggestive that the category of “other” is applying a different standard for sorting trash.

  • Even if we recycled all of our trash, it wouldn’t be enough.

Theoretically developed nations can achieve 86 percent recycling. The quoted report concludes all organic waste is compostable and all plastic, metal, paper, and glass are recyclable and the only trash meant for the landfill is the “other” category, which includes ash, electronic waste, and old appliances. What is frightening about the report is the “other” category in America means the per person ratio the other trash of each american is greater than the total trash of an average person in India.

The story, therefore says: Recycling alone won’t solve our trash problem.  CO2Land org has no reason to think Australia is any different – we need more to be done.

Credit for the story: Sarah Zhang (editorial intern at Mother Jones).