Every future cost/benefit analysis must include the end lifecycle impact on both the environment and human health.
Garbage. Trash. Rubbish.
Our Disposable Society.
We live in a “disposable”, world that was largely made by design. Manufacturers call it “planned obsolescence“. Our global society has become so influenced by consumerism that everything seems disposable. We throwaway people – our relationships and marriages, our parents into nursing homes – our pets and animals and Nature.
The term “disposable” describes a critical view of over-consumption and excessive production of short-lived or disposable items.
We generate billions of tons of trash in our lives. Containers and packaging now represent 32 percent of all municipal solid waste.On a local level, we do our due diligence recycling, separating everything out and putting them neatly in our recycled garbage bins to be picked up weekly. We wave it goodbye and start all over again. We have a perception that if you put it in a recycle bin, it will end up being recycled, but it’s not clear that’s always the case. Article from Daily Green http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/mit-trash-track-study-47071701?src=nl&mag=tdg&list=dgr
How much of this, I wonder, is due to our fast-paced lives, racing here and racing there, looking for convenience and fast meals and fast fixes, as we struggle to try to make ends meet or to get the latest version, episode, model or simply just to acquire “more.”? We don’t have the time to think things through anymore. We think short-term not long-term. Have we lost connection to that which we do acquire, its relevant importance and value in our lives? Have we forgotten to be thankful for what we do have and, for what we do not have? Do we really need it? Can I do without it?… and most importantly …Where will it go when I’ve finished with it?
For example: Plastic. What happens to the plastic that millions of people throw away every day. Where does it go? How is it actually handled? ” Is the environment harmed by it in the process of disposal? Could it possibly seep into our ground water and cycle back into our own bodies loaded with carcinogenic and other chemicals?
I believe we can create a viable, sustainable economy by embracing responsibility back into our lives. Responsibility not only for the environment, but also for how our actions affect other people and populations even on the other side of the world. The current economic down turn and near financial collapse could be a great blessing for it has given us time to pause, take a long, deep breath and re-evaluate our priorities and needs as it relates to ourselves, each other and our community and – our Natural World.
Garbage. Trash. Rubbish…and… E-WASTE
Although known by different names, it is what we dispose of and throwaway when we have finished with it. It is a looming global problem. We have fewer and fewer landfills and those are getting bigger and bigger releasing more CO2 into the environment everyday and leaching, you name it, toxins into our ground water. We cannot continue to pass off our responsibilities to poorer countries and think that out of sight, out of mind has fixed the problem. Did you know that America imports tons and tons of toxic trash from Mexico?
E-WASTE IS BECOMING A DANGEROUS AND GROWING INTERNATIONAL TRADE FOR OBSOLETE ELECRONIC PRODUCTS. The waste stream from these products is termed “e-waste”. Some estimate it at 50 million tonnes a year. A lot of it is dumped in India, Bangladesh, Ghana and Nigeria, where there is no proper regulation or health controls. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article6718658.ece
Apart from our local, regional and national landfills, we ship our garbage, hi-tech disposals (E-Waste), old toxic ships and aircraft overseas; and let those in developing emerging nations risk their lives to exposure, to dispose of or disassemble our trash for mere pennies a day. Old and young. But it is out of sight and a waste management company could well justify that it has done its job. It is gone, offshore, even if people, young and old, die from toxic fumes of burning rubber, plastic and chemicals or get cancer and other severe life-threatening or life-shortening illnesses as a result of exposure to our trash. We’ve done our part!
PLASTIC. It is everywhere and in everything. According to the UN Environment Program, the world produces 200 billion pounds of plastic each year. About 80 percent of the plastic in the ocean flows from rivers, is washed out from storm drains or sewage overflows, or is blown out to sea from shore by the wind.
As an experiment I have tried to live without it and find it is impossible. It exists in my computer mouse, my printer, my car, my television, my video, and my eyeglasses, in almost every product – everywhere. No matter how hard I wrack my brains, I cannot come up with an alternative. It is a huge industry and I don’t see anything on the horizon to replace it. And yet, they say some of it can last for hundreds of years. Plastic is not biodegradable and can release nasty, poisonous toxins, chemicals and endocrine disrupters..The History of Plastic: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plastic
We are in the early stages of this global revolution (I choose to call it an evolution) and we are going to get there through lots of trial and error and experimentation. It would be wise from now on, to think of things in terms complete cycles...in this case, from time of extraction from Mother Earth, to the time She is asked to receive the residual leftovers of our endeavors, creative processes, and manufacturing. (We call that “trash”). Not just insofar as it affects the environment, our fish, birds and animals, but the final end destination which is the human body.
Everything we put down our drains, our toilets, our sewers eventually cycles back into our human bodies. Nature doesn’t make trash, humans do. Naure’s end life cycle is fully biodegradable and is so perfectly designed so that it recycles itself to feed and nurture future growth. Do you think we could learn from Nature how to do it? I think so. If we are going to continue to tinker with Her, we need to ensure that we are not creating further havoc and imbalance by poisoning both ourselves and that which we depend upon for our our very survival – Nature.
Part Two to follow