Miner Editorial | We’re losing the ‘War on Trash’
It’s been difficult recently to not see the damage the human race is doing to Earth, and especially our ocean life, with the way we handle our trash.
For years the goal has been to teach everyone to recycle. The benefits that were supposed to be coming our way because of recycling efforts, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, were these:
• Reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills and incinerators,
• Conserves natural resources such as timber, water and minerals,
• Increases economic security by tapping a domestic source of materials,
• Prevents pollution by reducing the need to collect new raw materials,
• Saves energy,
• Supports American manufacturing and conserves valuable resources,
• Helps create jobs in the recycling and manufacturing industries in the U.S.
It’s not working.
There are many different types of municipal solid waste containers and products that are harming our planet, including our community. Make no mistake about it, our dependency upon plastic is killing us.
The EPA reports worldwide we are producing 300 million tons of plastic, including billions of plastic bottles and 5 billion plastic bags. At our current rate, we are recycling less than 15% of plastics.
Those numbers are only going to get worse as countries that once took used plastics from other countries are now stopping that practice.
It’s becoming more expensive to recycle here at home, as the City of Kingman has reported. Our community has gone from an experimental curbside system of recycling to a limited system of recycling as the City is about to remove the green recycling dumpsters from all of the current locations to a centralized place where Public Works is housed, 3700 E. Andy Devine Ave.
Moving the bins to Public Works will give City staff an opportunity to educate recyclers as they come in, which will in turn save Kingman money by reducing contamination levels.
Most likely, we believe it is going to reduce the pounds of waste in Kingman that are recycled. We believe there will be a lot of residents who won’t want to make the drive if the closest recycling bins are miles away rather than in the neighborhood.
One recycler separates his household’s recyclables into four bins. He owns a small car so only takes one at a time to the neighborhood dumpsters. When the recycling containers are relocated, the recycler has said he will stop.
Recycling is becoming more and more costly and inconvenient, and by the looks of it here in Kingman, “big brother” isn’t going to save us.
The EPA offers four ways for all of us to participate in the “War on Trash.” The four Rs are: 1) reduce the amount of materials used and waste created. 2) Reuse materials. 3) Recycle (whenever possible). 4) Rethink the materials you use and the materials you throw away.
We believe the solution is to rid our lives of single-use plastics.
Try purchasing a water bottle rather than purchasing cases of bottled water. Get canvas bags to take to the grocery store for transporting food rather than relying on the stores’ plastic bags.
Use straws that can be composted or reused rather than accepting plastic straws from restaurants.
There is a company offering cleaning supplies that don’t require the purchasing of large plastic bottles when refills are needed. After the initial purchase, refill cartridges are ordered and not the bottles, which you keep to reuse.
Recycling isn’t going to get us free from our plastic addiction. Our governments aren’t going to be major players to stop it.
Each one of us, individually, is going to have lead our households and teach how not to get addicted to single-use plastics.
Maybe then we’ll stop seeing whales die with stomachs full of plastic.