Few people bother giving garbage a second thought. Recycling has become part of the routine. No problem, we separate trash, once a week its taken away. In many places electronics are no longer accepted, we’re begrudgingly getting used to that.
Ever pondered animal waste? Millions of tons of dog poop are trucked to American dumps each year. Lets talk kitty litter. An estimated third of Americans are cat owners. Each of those cats use around 275 lbs. of litter a year. Start doing the math, it’s mind boggling. How about dirty litter from the thousands and thousands of small animals like hamsters or gerbils. For the most part all this waste is tightly sealed in plastic bags which won’t be breaking down any time soon. Those bags that do break open spill out, contaminating the site. Cat faeces in particular has the potential to infect birds and other animals.
Move on to disposable diapers. Somewhere between 250 – 500 years is the time it takes a disposable diaper to decompose. By age two every child has contributed 1 – 2 tons of waste to the landfill. Millions of diapers grace the dump each day, an estimated 2 – 3 % of a landfill is diapers.
We wouldn’t dream of putting raw human sewage, diapers aside, into the city dump. I’m pondering the wisdom of allowing animal waste, and disposable diapers. Wouldn’t it make more sense to replace those electronics recycling depots with raw waste depots. I’d take a VCR over a bag of kitty litter in my dump any day.
Photo from myzerowaste