Why Sustainable Waste Management Matters
In 2015, the U.S produced 262 million tons of municipal solid waste which is 3.5 million more tons than 2014 and 54 million more tons than 1990. This includes an increased amount of plastic waste generation of 35 million tons making up 13% of waste. Plastics are made from oil and will never completely degrade becoming microplastics that are found almost everywhere on Earth. Much of this plastic makes its way into our oceans with 8 million tons added every year to the 150 million tons currently circulating in giant patches across the globe. To lessen our ecological footprint on the planet, many individuals, companies, and governments are striving for zero waste. By reducing the overall global consumption of goods we will not only produce less waste, but use fewer resources and reduce the energy needed for their production. In landfills, waste rots and produces large amounts of carbon dioxide and methane, both greenhouse gases, while polluting the soil and water. Diverting as much waste as possible from landfills through reusing, recycling, and composting reduces greenhouse gas emissions, prevents further pollution, and conserves natural resources.
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