Do you know what happens to the things that you throw away?
Many people do not. Many people think that their trash is whisked away and burned down to a pulp in order to dispose of it. Some is, the majority is not.
The things that you throw away are buried in the ground. They are buried in something known as a ‘landfill‘. These are very deep holes that hold A LOT of trash. The problem is, there are only a few locations left in most western countries that actually have space to hold all of the waste people are generating. In fact, many countries, the United Kingdom included, are starting to fill up the last of their waste disposal areas. This is not good because people seem to be generating more and more waste each and every year.
People need to start to look into recycling otherwise these landfill sites will be filled up pretty soon. This will lead to a number of problems. Many people think that the local government will find somewhere for the trash to go eventually. This may be the case, but it is not a good solution. You see, as space becomes limited, trash will be collected less and less. It will then start to pile up in the streets causing a number of hygiene issues.
A lack of landfill space will also mean that new landfills need to be built. You could end up having a landfill built in close proximity to you. Not only will it blight the environment, but house prices will fall, and you will have to live with an awful stench (trust me, the smell of a landfill site is pretty intense). Neither of these is good.
Human Impact on the Environment
That is not the only problem with landfill waste disposal either. Landfill waste disposal harms the environment. Contrary to popular belief, items thrown in a landfill do not just rot away in a couple of weeks. Plastics will last underground for many hundreds of years. Chemicals will also start to leak from other products. These chemicals will get into the soil. They will then travel and it can end up destroying the environment for many hundreds of years to come.
In fact, if you head to any area close to a landfill you will see the amount of damage that they are doing already. Very few animals will live close by, many of them died as a result of the pollution. Plants and trees will not exist either. It is almost like a desolate and barren landscape.
Hop in a time machine and travel back to the same place in 500 or 600 years (yes, I know time travel does not exist), you will see that the area is still damaged. It is likely to be for a long time yet. What we do to the environment today is having an effect on the environment in the long term. Do you really wish to create a lifelike this for those that live in the future? I am sure you do not. This is one reason why you need to recycle.
It is not just the soil that is being affected either. Landfills release all sorts of toxic gases into the air, including methane. It is no secret that the hole in our ozone layer has become a lot bigger over the years. This is not just down to our increased burning of fossil fuels. Is also down to the fact that there is more and more waste being disposed of. Whole areas are being decimated as a result of lack of recycling, and that is not good in the slightest.
Now, for the second reason. It is no secret that raw materials are dwindling in supply. You only need to flick on the TV to see that we are in the midst of a raw material crisis. We are using more raw materials than ever before. Think how much paper you get through each year at your place of work. You most likely get through a couple of trees worth in a large office. This means trees are being cut down for you. Think how much paper gets used worldwide. Yep, trees are being cut down.
In fact, think about how much wooden furniture is created each year. We are losing large segments of our forests and they are not returning. Not only are trees disappearing, but wildlife and the like are disappearing too. The thing is, we can change this. Most woods and papers can be broken down and recycled into new products. When this happens, no trees need to be felled at all. This means that you are doing your bit to help the environment.
The same applies to plastic. It is likely that our fossil fuel supply will run out within the next few decades (or even less than that!). If this happens plastics can’t be created, cars can’t run, and people will find it very difficult to heat their homes. The world will be in crisis. You can do your little bit to help by recycling plastics.
Anything plastic, including bottles, can be recycled and used again to form new plastic items. This means that we are not tapping into our fossil fuel supply too much, and thus there is hope for the future. This is not by any means a long-term solution, but if everybody started to recycle then it is going to help us until mankind is able to come up with a solution that is slightly better.