Not really. When we take into account that the average person generates 4-5 lbs of waste daily.
According to the U.S. EPA, 250 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) were generated in 2008 – a slight decrease from the 254 million tons generated in 2007. (This decrease likely can be attributed to the economic downturn, the impact of various waste-reduction efforts, or a combination of the two.) In 1960, only 88.1 million tons of MSW were generated. Figure 2 graphically depicts MSW generation over time. The amount of garbage we produce is a function of the size of the population and the strength of the economy. As our population increases, our country generates more trash. A strong economy can also increase the size of the waste stream. Per person generation, however, can vary depending on other factors, including the “lightweighting” of products.
When we are experiencing a lean economy it provides us with new opportunities to be creative. We find new strength and fervor, developing new skills and habits to incorporate in our daily lives. Let’s face it-the more we have, the more we waste. We are so busy spending our good fortunes that we don’t take into account where the remains will go. There is always something left over. It’s not likely that we will think about where that plastic bag ends up after we bring our purchases home.
Our hobby farm is bordered with a small patch of woods. This location was once a landfill. As we walk through the woods on occasion, I am constantly pulling up plastic diapers and bags that over time have become entangled in the roots of the vegetation. It is estimated that it takes about 500 years for plastic to break down. We can convert to using cloth diapers and to recycle the plastic bags at the grocers or take our own.
Here, at Tarolyn Farms, we take our biodegradable materials generated and return them to our garden and livestock. Our food by products are given to our chickens and worms. The chickens then produce a more protein rich egg for our consumption. The worms produce a more rich compost for our soil to plant our produce in. Newspaper can be used in the garden compost and worm composting.
Our horses generate waste several times each day. I am on daily clean-up detail. Initially, when we first acquired the horses I panicked as to what to do with all their waste. I found that by continually raking and sifting, allowing the hot sun to dry it out, it is reusable. We reuse it to cushion the floor in the stall and as an absorbent. Mixing it with dirt and clippings there is virtually no odor. I had even used it for cat litter. I had learned also to spread it out with the hay in the field and the hay will reseed itself. That’s a good thing for them. The horse, goat, worm and chicken waste is composted back into the soil to provide nutrients for our vegetables.
It does require work but the rewards are so much greater. We get our exercise daily, we eat better because we are exercising, and the food we eat maintains our health. So are we suffering? No, not really.
- Generate Less Waste, Save Money and the Planet (fatwallet.com)
- How Do I Keep Composting? Part 2: Getting in the Habit (sweethollowalmanac.com)
- Urban Green Tip: How To Compost in the City (shawnacoronado.com)
- Recycling in your Garden (plewspottingshed.wordpress.com)
- Spectroscopic and Thermal Analysis of Composting during Agitated Pile and Rotary Drum Composting (slideshare.net)