Archives For trash

Gift Wrapping RollsThe holidays may be gone, but those bulging bags of trash are probably still waiting to be taken off of your hands. There may be a swell of food scraps in there from a holiday feast, but a lot of that bulk is the discarded skins of surprise that recently held our presents-to-be. While standing as a time-honored tradition, wrapping presents also marks a spike in the waste that we create throughout the year. According to the Wall Street Journal, gift wrapping sales in the U.S. totaled $9.36 billion in 2010 (more than the combined GDP of Africa’s 9 poorest countries). One of the problems with traditional wrapping paper is that its dying and lamination make recycling difficult. This means that most of that paper does not end up in a plastic bin targeted for reuse, but in trash bags headed for a landfill and we produce 4 million pounds of it. Continue Reading…

trash stream from electronicsWe have wound up with a culture that has fashioned itself in the image of disposal instead of retention. Almost everything that we own has a useful life that ends when something breaks because the cost to repair it is a vast percentage of the cost of simply buying a newer, cutting-edge replacement. A glance around my own apartment uncovered few exceptions: flat screen TV, iPod, cell phone, stove, microwave, speakers—once broken none of these things could be affordably repaired. But beyond affordability, we are perpetuating a number of massive waste streams laden with the worst kinds of materials—stuff that will sit in the ground indefinitely. We need to focus on ways for retooling our economy to one that runs off of reuse. Continue Reading…

restaurant biodiesel Our collective waste stream is one of the prime issues in need of attention in our country. Americans produce more waste per capita than any other country in the world. For as good as we are at creating ideas of value, we are apparently even better at deeming volumes of things worthless. But if more waste streams became feedstock—new raw materials—for parts of the economy then our trash would actually become valuable and draw more people  away from tossing refuse so carelessly. We are approaching a time where more materials will retain a latent value to be harvested for second, third, or indefinite uses in the economy, thereby eliminating them from the waste stream entirely. Continue Reading…