Garbology

Garbology by Ed Humes was very interesting.  It has brought many startling facts and unique stories to my attention.  I have some prior knowledge of food waste and knew that was a problem, I also knew the benefits of recycling, but I never fully comprehended the scale of the trash problems the US now faces.  “Garbage has become one of the most accurate measures of prosperity in twenty-first-century America and the world.” This quote is spot on, the US is the most wealthy nation in the world according to many standards.  It makes sense that the more wealth someone has, the more they consume, and the more they produce waste.

7.1 pounds per person per day, Average lifetime trash is 102 tons, US citizens have 50% more trash per person than other western nations. Puente hills emits 31,000 cubic feet of gases per minute.  by 2011, 500 feet above original ground level.  Trash Crisis: Number of authorized landfills have decreased, and the are filling up. Where to put all the trash now?

Archaeologists know we are not what we eat, but we are what we throw away.  Landfills are forever… Ancient civilizations are studied by what they leave behind. It is weird to think that in thousands of years, other civilizations could be studying and uncovering what we throw away today.

Waste management people didn’t start containing bottom of landfill until 1988, so there a millions of tons slowly seeping into ground and could be very harmful to ground water.  1991 liners became required. It seems like common sense now, but it is crazy to think that no one back when landfills started ever thought of the consequences or the impacts trash could have on the surrounding and below environments.

“blogjects” and “spimes” and smart trash… Humes brings up science fiction of self-aware trash and it is very interesting. In a world of internet and sensors, trash items could have technology on it that ensures it goes to the right place of disposals.  What if every plastic bottle had a built in micro chip that trash separating robots could sense and put it into the recycling pile? That would keep all bottles out of landfills.  Its already kinda happening in Seattle with Tim Pritchard and Trash Track.

Green Cities like Portland still produce massive amounts of trash.  Diversion rate of 67% but still behind San Francisco at 77%.  But even with the high recycling rates, 60 trucks a day go to landfills.  Enter: garbage death ray. Reducing garbage up to 99%,  the trash crisis is solved.. almost.

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