Trash Talk: Where Does Your Garbage Go?

By Alex Liu


We produce garbage all the time. Food scraps from the dinner table, an empty pop can, a broken glass cup and a used shampoo bottle all count towards our waste. But just where does all that garbage go?

- In most households, garbage is separated into two bins: one is for waste, and the other is for recyclables, like items made of plastic, metal, glass and paper.

- Some people also separate their organic waste, like food scraps, from the rest of their trash for composting. Composting allows this type of waste to decompose into a soil-like material. The material produced by composting can be used for home gardening or landscaping.

- When you put your garbage bins outside, different trucks pick up different bins on designated days. Recyclables are taken to a recycling plant, while other garbage is often taken to waste management facilities.

- At the recycling plant, the glass, metal and paper from your trash is processed and remade into new items.

- Garbage that isn’t recyclable is usually buried in landfills or burned at incinerators.

- In landfills, garbage is layered into the ground with soil, until the landfill is full.

- Incinerators burn garbage under controlled conditions. This method of waste management can be used to produce electricity, but it can also produce pollutants. Special equipment is often used to remove these pollutants.

TAKE OUT THE TRASH:

HOW TO LOWER YOUR GARBAGE OUTPUT
- Sort your waste. Instead of throwing paper, metal and plastic products into the garbage, place the appropriate product into its proper recycling bin.

- Not only is littering bad for the environment, it is also makes streets look less than attractive. Hold onto your garbage until you can find a recycling or garbage bin.

- If you live in an area that does not have a proper recycling and garbage disposal program, talk to your parents, and try to arrange one with your local government.

- Garbage isn’t pretty. If you do your part, and properly dispose of your waste, you can help make this planet a cleaner and better place.