Saving Our Landfills Through Recycling and Repurposing.
With over 7.7 billion people in the world and over 319 million people living in the United States alone, it is no surprise that we overuse our natural resources and create an incredible amount of waste. The US has become known as a “disposable society”. Our mantra has been “out with the old and in with the new”. We throw away packaging, tires, appliances, food, clothes, plastic bottles, bags and so much more.
We tend to not consider the impact that our waste has on the world.
Long before landfills were developed trash was burned on the outskirts of town to avoid the black smoke and disease-ridden heaps of waste. The first official landfill was developed in 1937 in Fresno, California allowing for thousands of pounds of trash to go to one designated location. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, we have managed to fill up over 10,000 landfills in the USA since then. We currently have 3,091 active landfills in the USA.
The average American tosses 4.4 pounds of trash every single day. It may not seem all that astonishing on the surface, but with 323.7 million living in the United States, that is roughly 728,000 tons of daily garbage – enough to fill 63,000 garbage trucks. We collectively produce 254 million tons of trash annually in the USA alone.
The mass production of plastics, which began just six decades ago, has accelerated so rapidly that it has created 8.3 billion metric tons of mostly disposable products that end up as trash. 91% of plastic is not recycled. If present trends continue, by 2050, there will be 12 billion metric tons of plastic in landfills.
Some 160 billion pounds of discarded food ends up in landfills. Globally, we throw out about 1.3 billion tons of food a year, or a third of all the food that we grow. But in wealthy countries, especially in the United States and Canada, around 40 percent of wasted food is thrown out by consumers.
300 million tires are discarded in the US annually. The problem with tires is that they are tough and very durable making them a challenge to recycle. Therefore, repurposing them to save landfill space has many benefits.
The three most important health and environmental problems with landfills are toxins, leaching and greenhouse gases. Methane, a greenhouse gas that is released from landfills is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide which contributes to global warming and climate change.
By making small changes in our individual lives, there is hope for a collective attempt to combat the American throw-away society we have created.
Reduction, reuse and recycling programs are the most effective solutions. Whole communities of people are actively managing their waste by living zero-waste lifestyles and individuals are learning how to decrease their waste to almost nothing.
How you can help:
- Be an inquisitive shopper- Inform yourself as to where your products come from, who is making them, and what they are made from and appreciate the eco-friendly craft of repurposing and upcycling.
- Refuse packaging- Packaging has become so excessive that even oranges and avocados are being sold in plastic. Shop products and goods that come in sustainable packaging or bring reusable bags and skip buying products that have extra packaging wherever you can.
- Recycle as much as you can- This doesn’t just apply to recycling glass bottles, cans, cardboard, and plastic. You can upcycle clothing, shoes, books, electronics and appliances by donating to local charities or people in your neighborhood.
- Compost and feed your garden- We throw away almost 50% of the food that is harvested while other countries are starving. Only buy what you need and compost the rest. A simple composter can feed your garden where homegrown vegetables and flowers can thrive making you and the garden happy.
- Invest in high quality, fair trade, and sustainable goods - These goods are actually helping save our landfill spaces, oceans and forests and also sustain communities.
We support environmentally friendly companies that take materials that are headed to the landfill and give them new life by repurposing them. Give Back Goods supports these amazing forward-thinking companies in their effort of recycling and repurposing everyday items through the sale of these goods.
Give Back Goods sells designer style clutches, wallets, purses, totes, belts and backpacks made out of repurposed tires, feed bags, canvas, and billboards. We also sell glasses made from repurposed wine, beer, and soda bottles. Our sea glass dishes are all made from post-consumer used glass and our candelabras and serving trays are made from wine barrels.
Repurposing never looked so good!
Tara Dodson is the creator of the Living Full Circle Blog and will be our guest blogger each month for Mindful Mondays where she hopes to inspire us to make sustainable choices in our daily lives while at home, traveling, and in the workplace.
She is the mother of three, has an endearing partner, and has traveled internationally since she was a child. She enjoys spending time with her family outside whether it is in the garden, biking to the beach, hiking, or doing a beach cleanup. She serves her local community by working for public service by day, provides sustainability consulting to businesses and organizations on the side with her business, Full Circle Resource Management, LLC, and as co-founder of Keepers of the Coast, she creates coastal educational and sustainability programs.
As a recent graduate from Southern New Hampshire University with an MBA in Sustainability, her background is embedded in conservation, sustainability, and traveling. With over 15 years of experience, she hopes that you will join her on this journey of inspiration.
With each purchase through Give Back Goods you are supporting important causes like clean water, prevention of human trafficking, environmental causes, animal causes and much more. You also support poverty-stricken communities throughout the world through Fair Trade wages & practices. Give Back Goods goal is to give 10% of their profits each year to their partner organizations. With your support, they hope to be able to accomplish this in their second year of business. Another very special part of Give Back Goods is that when you make a purchase you are literally participating in a sustainable approach to decreasing our impacts to our natural resources like overused land for landfill space, impacts to our forests and pollution of our oceans.
We appreciate your support in helping us GIVE BACK!