A direct portal to a landfill

There was an article posted last week on tinygreenbubble.com about the semantics in the world of resource recovery. Jocelyn Saurini wrote “don’t think that I’m one of those girls on a bandwagon about how San Francisco does everything right. Believe me, I am not that girl. However, the city has nailed one thing fabulously: They’ve found a way to make residents think about landfill size every single time they throw things away.”

During her trip to SF, she discovered that landfill-bound material is collected in a container labeled “landfill” and not “trash” or “garbage”.

Semantics do matter in what we do because the materials that go into the green and blue containers ARE NOT garbage. According to one dictionary, garbage means: “any matter that is no longer wanted or needed; trash.”

But in the areas where we work, what diligent people do every day is make a decision to save our natural resources by recycling and composting. They are not “throwing away” anything except what there is no next best use for. The materials we recycle become the same or next use items. We convert the organics that we collect into compost. Let’s stop calling it garbage.

As for landfill size–yes, landfill space matters. In some communities people do not think about what they throw away and quickly use up the area available to dispose of true garbage. That means they end up having to find more land to use for landfilling “garbage”. But we see a more fundamental problem. Many useful resources are buried in the first place because no recycling alternatives exist.

As for everything that goes in the landfill container, yes its true that has no chance to be recovered. It doesn’t get sorted for usable material. So we depend on people to make the wise choice and minimize the amount of true garbage they put in that container. We know, like Jocelyn does, that “waste doesn’t just disappear.” That’s why we say WASTE ZERO.

3 Responses to “A direct portal to a landfill

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    7 years ago

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  • The pit that you don’t see « Recology :

    […] Pit temporarily holds what goes into the garbage can before it’s transfered to a landfill. Most of it is recyclable or compostable. When we look at the pit, we feel the same sense of […]

    8 years ago

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