Issue 4: Taking Out The Garbage

tallkitchenbags The worst is probably the tall kitchen garbage bags. I go through at least one a day. With all the other bags I have thrown out I am certain I put over 1000 a year into the landfill. All those bags will still be there when my great great grandchildren are around. Yikes. The more I look into this the more I realize that the eventual answer will have to be composting. My aunt just moved to Toronto and they are way ahead of us. Composting is expected and regulated there. Almost nothing goes into the regular garbage bin. Hmmm……

1 Comment »

  1. miked (from the gym) Said,

    May 6, 2010 @ 11:25 am

    You’re not used to my crankyness, so don’t take this as me being mean, but I always like to challenge environmental ideas because people often either feel too guilty (like you are about the plastic bags) or too smug (like the Prius drivers) about the wrong things.

    In your case let’s talk about composting and landfill use. First, composting (commonly known as rotting) releases methane gas during the decomposition. If everyone has their own little compost pile at home then the capture and use of the methane is uneconomical and impractical, however if everyone dumps into one big compost pile (say a big landfill) then we can capture the methane and use it for “free” energy. (There are places like this where once a landfill is “full” they cover over it with a golf course and capture the methane gas and use it to generate electricity.)

    Now on to the plastic bags. Again, don’t worry about it. There’s a lot of land fill space still available. It’s not like we’re really going to run out of space (everything that made the plastic came out of the ground and left a hole that theoretically could be filled with the plastic bag). Of course it’s a good idea to recycle, except when the energy used to do the recycling is higher than it is to just start from raw materials (glass and some plastics are this way). Generally if it’s cheaper to recycle something then it’s already recycled (because there’s money in it). Things that take too much energy are expensive (because energy costs money) to recycle and shouldn’t be recycled. However technology continues to advance and it may be cheaper/easier to recycle something later. Well if we just throw it all in a landfill right now, then we know where to look later when it’s cheaper to recycle. You can view landfills as goldmines that will hold raw materials in the future when we know what do to with the stuff.

    Either way, don’t feel guilty.

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