Pacia Purcell: Garbology

The book mentions a few alternatives to landfills. One such alternative is burning the trash to create energy that can be used. This is already done in some places such as Sweden and Connecticut. Not only does this practice cut back on the amount of trash that ends up in landfills, but it also provides alternatives to unsustainable practices of producing energy. At the creation of one large landfill mentioned in the book, the thought of using the trash to run a power plant was proposed, however was not put into action. Landfills are cheaper options and have a higher profit margin. People in this society are money crazy, because they have to be. Here in America and many other places around the world, you won’t go far without money, but you can go far by harming the environment. The world’s drive for money is causing an environmental crisis.

A great majority of the book dealt with the topic of plastic and mentioned how one woman researched the amount of plastic that ends up in our oceans and eaten by the wildlife. When plastic in the oceans is mentioned everyone thinks about those plastic rings that hold cans or bottles of pop together and how they end up wrapped around a turtle’s body or some poor penguin’s throat. However there is a lot more plastic in the water than what meets the eye. Small, unseeable particles of plastic are present throughout the water. These can come from many sources, but many are washed down the shower drain and come from your favorite hygiene products. Many soaps, shampoos, and face washes contain plastics that are unknowingly washed down the drain when you rinse off. Who knew that trying to be cleanly could be so bad for the environment? Some of these plastics are discarded into the ocean, where they are eaten unknowingly by fish, which can not only cause problems for the fish, but those who eat the fish also.

Humans rely heavily on plastic. Looking around my room I can’t help but notice all the things that are made of plastic and the things that probably contain plastic, but you just can’t be sure. Plastic is cheaper to produce than alternative materials in many situations. However, humans still overuse plastic for things that really need not exist. Many candies contain plastic parts from which you eat the candy off of. There are many little, cheap, plastic toys that are bought one day and thrown away the next. Many cheap plastic things are not made with the thought of do people need this, but rather do people want this? This makes people sound greedy and in truth they are. Why else would products that harm the environment be produced if humans did not necessarily need them? From human greed for more money and human greed for more material things. Plastic is a huge part of the composition of our landfills, and a lot of plastic that is produced could not be and humans would be just fine.

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