The Conscious Truth About Trash
It’s easy to think “out of sight, out of mind” when it comes to your household trash, but the truth is that once the bag of heaping garbage hits the dumpster, can, or curb... not a single item disappears. Similar to how we find it important to know HOW & WHERE things like clothing are produced—we felt it was just as compelling to know the end of a product’s life cycle as well.
The average American consumer produces almost 5 lbs of trash per day, which amounts to about 1600 lbs of trash per year.
Depending on the area you live, your household trash is usually picked up by local waste haulers and is taken to a facility to be sorted, or it heads straight to a landfill/collection center.
At sorting facilities (sometimes referred to as Materials Recovery Facility), the trash is sorted by human workers and conveyer belts. One important thing to note is that not everything you throw away gets sorted. If incorrectly binned recycled items get to the facility, there is a large chance that they will slide through and end up in landfill. It’s important to look into your local collection services to see what types of things can/can’t go into landfill or recycling centers.
Things like greasy pizza boxes and plastic grocery bags most likely go straight to landfill instead of being recycled. That’s right, putting your recycled cans & bottles in a plastic grocery bag could be sending those babies straight to landfill where they take up to 1,000 years to decompose!
What about clothes?
Unfortunately, unless clothing is thrifted or re-used most of it is forced to go into landfill. Textiles take up to 200+ years to decompose in landfill. The fabrics, fibres, and chemical dyes that are used in the making of the garments make it difficult to recycle. Sustainable clothing manufacturers are working hard to incorporate recycling into the design process, but the best thing you can do as a consumer is be aware of clothing waste and buy/use LESS.
Ways you can help less go into landfill:
- Look into composting in your area
- Study up on what’s recycled in your area (know the can/cant’s)
- Clean everything (remember, real people sort through your trash/recycling!)
- Re-sell old clothes or host clothing swaps with your friends
- Consume less.