You would be surprised how much our everyday waste disposal can detrimentally impact the environment. Chances are, most of the random pieces of rubbish you have thrown away are currently rotting in one of many landfill sites polluting our Earth.
Landfills are important- to some extent- as they serve to prevent contamination between the waste and the surrounding environment. Unfortunately, companies are still producing materials like single-use plastics for packaging and our solution is to bury them. Today’s landfills follow strict government regulation that have been put in place to protect local communities- so how can they be so bad? While landfills have themselves improved, the contents represent a huge loss to the environment. Rotting rubbish in the ground generates high levels of methane and carbon dioxide- both of which are greenhouse gases, contributing greatly to the process of global warming. Furthermore, many toxic substances end up on landfills, which leech into the earth and groundwater overtime. This creates a huge environmental hazard as these chemicals may contaminate and pollute our waterways.
Shockingly, the UK used to go through 500 million plastic bags every week- amounting to billions of bags and thousands of tonnes of plastic annually. Sadly, each bag will take between 500 and 1,000 years to decompose in landfill. However, since the introduction of the 5p bag, usage has dropped by an astonishing 85%!
Luckily for Earth, and luckily for us, there are other, many simpler ways to prevent excessive waste disposal.
1) Firstly, take care while shopping. Is this item’s packaging recyclable? If not- don’t buy it. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
2) Try not to buy a plastic bag every single time you reach the checkout. Instead, bring a tote bag with you and keep it in your bag or in your car. Not only are they reusable and multi-purposeful but they also come in many designs and look much better than any old plastic bag from Tescos.
3) Reuse and donate anything you can. For example, many Sainsbury’s supermarkets provide recycling for batteries and textiles.
4) Finally, recycle and compost anything you can. This seems like an obvious one but only 47% of the UK’s population actually do this. As much as 50% of all landfill space is taken up by paper- most of which could have been recycled and reused.
Sounds easy? That’s because it is! More careful actions and small contributions can make a big difference, one step at a time.