Janique Goff, an American business developer focused on environmental and energy conservation and biotechnologies, puts people face-to-face with the issue of garbage disposal. On average, an American produces 4.5 pounds of waste a day. With a population of 310 million, this amounts to 56 tons of waste annually. That’s 49 million diapers per day, 4 million tons of junk mail every year, 2.5 million plastic bottles by the hour, and 65 billion aluminum soda cans used each year. As early as five years ago, only a tenth of this gargantuan waste figure was getting recycled every year; the rest was left buried in landfills or disposed in oceans, destroying wildlife habitats across the country.
|From wwf.panda.org by mauri rautkari|
Janique Goff extols the value of reduction, reuse, and recycling as the best practices to manage garbage sustainably. Companies everywhere have been scrambling to reduce paper usage, from e-mail signatures reminding employees to think before they print, ATM interfaces offering users the option not receive a transaction receipt, to toy manufacturers using recycled corrugated board packaging.
In 2008, America’s solid waste industry had processed over 61 million tons of bottles, cans, and paper, 62.6 billion of which were aluminum cans. It also composted 22 million tons of yard waste, raising the country’s recycling rate to over thirty percent. What’s more, America’s supply of recycled batteries constitutes 60% of the world’s lead supply.
|From unicodirect.com and istockphoto.com|
When it comes to reusing waste, people can be creative. Old coffee mugs that are either chipped or missing handles can be turned into flowerpots or pen holders for the desk, old shoulder pads wrapped in old nylon netting can be used as dish scouring pads, old leather or fabric belts make excellent pet collars when properly adjusted.
More resources on the three most valuable R’s in waste management can be found at www.janique-goff.com.