Stop Trashing the Climate

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A new report published by the Institute for Local Self Reliance lays out the links between climate change and the amount of trash we produce.  The central argument made is that a “zero waste approach” or heavy promotion of reuse, recycling and composting, is the most practical way to cut back on the amount of waste we generate that is inturn sent to incinerators and landfills which, as we know, are yucky.  

If you’re into scary statistics, here’s one for you: “If we continue on the same wasting path with rising per capita waste generation rates and stagnating recycling and composting rates, by the year 2030, Americans could generate 301 million tons per year of municipal solid waste, up from 251 million tons in 2006.”

Fear not.  If policymakers and citizens would just head the recomendations made in this document, the amount of solid waste produced could drop 90% over the same time period, which would reduce the amount of greenhouse gases created by 406 megatons CO2 eq per year.  I’m not sure what the unit megaton CO2 eq. refers to, but it sounds significant, doesn’t it?  According to the report, it would be the clean air equivalent of shutting down over 80 smoke stackin’ coal burning plants.  

I’m interested in your thoughts on the 12-step plan laid out by these good people.  Reports full of numbers like this one make fantastic meat, but we have a lot of burgers to sling policy-wise to get this shit into law and daily practice.  Here’s a link to the press release.

Note to NYers: the Office of Recycling Outreach and Education is great for practical facts on what the city recycles, hosts random recycling-themed events and is a lifeline to wonky reports such as the one covered in this post.  Yay listserves!

Photo of children ripped from the OROE site.

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