TED Conversations

Sandra Awood

Retired,

This conversation is closed.

Why do we have so much garbage, & what can/should be done to reduce it?

Our planet is being trashed. We create & leave in our collective wake so much trash that a billion dollar industry has arisen just to manage it, often by burying it & creating potential hazards to our air & ground water. Our oceans & their beaches are polluted by plastics that won't decompose for 600 years. This is a worldwide disaster in the making. What do you think?

Share:
  • thumb
    Jun 1 2012: Time for industry and companies to be held responsible for the ENTIRE production process.

    It is not enough to expect consumers to be entirely responsible for packaging waste. Companies should be heavily fined for each piece of packaging that is not recycled or biodegradable.

    For example: you buy a Big Mac. You don't get the intellectual property/trade mark but you get the rubbish with that IP/trademark stamped all over it. Who is responsible for the disposal of that rubbish? McDonald's should be. 100%.
    • Jun 2 2012: I so agree! Wondered how many would see it this way. My own thought is that if it isn't biodegradable or recyclable, it shouldn't - by law - be made. I suspect you & I are in the minority. If you haven't seen the CNBC documentary on trash, you might be interested. Best regards & thanks for your comment.
  • Jun 1 2012: More people = more trash
  • thumb
    Jun 14 2012: I live in New Zealand, and though we still have plenty of rubbish, we have green waste options in every town and city. I have a bin for plastics and paper, and bin for glass, a bin for rubbish and also a green waste bin for garden and food waste that is turned into mulch. Even with all of that though, there is still plenty of non-recyclable products that we need to be dealing with. New strict laws need to be introduced around making packaging out of recyclable products. Most of our 'rubbish' is packaging. but at the end of the day, if the individual is too lazy to separate their waste for recycling then the problem will remain. Singapore are doing really well in terms of keeping their city really clean. They have HUGE fines for people who litter. Maybe we should have HUGE fines for people who don't recycle!
  • Jun 12 2012: Composting and recycling can eliminate a large percent of garbage in an efficient manner, but many people are not willing to do it. Much of the food that is thrown out can be composted and much of the paper, plastic, and metals can be recycled. Perhaps effort should be made to make composting more accessible to people in the city.In addition, there are often reusable substitutes, such as cloth napkins and rags. It also is important to ensure that that externalities are compensated for with government policies, so perhaps garbage disposal should be taxed according to its environmental impact. Advocacy may also help.
  • thumb
    Jun 8 2012: Well, I think that today we have many companiesĀ“s actions with 'green wash'. It is not necessary to prohibit plastic. We need an efficient recycling system.
  • Jun 3 2012: Maybe not in a perfest world. We have a plethora of ways to deal with this and the hundred (100)
    otgher problems in this world. This is a world of seven(7) billion people and growing.
    After the U.S. decided to let zero population growth work. the business barons decided to
    ad a hundred million people and build no roads to loweer wages. It did. Average weekly wages
    adjusted for inflation have been falling since 1973. You can have too much of a good thing
    e.g. people. Maybe Eric Blair was wrong in Animal Farm. Can't people become pigs?
  • Jun 3 2012: Sandy . . . I'm sorry . . . you're going to think I'm a sexist pig. Why do we have so much garbage? Women. Who does the great majority of shopping in the U.S.? Females. Who needs more . . . way more . . . "stuff" to maintain their lifestyles, men or women? If you have young kids, check the floor of their room; is there space to put your feet and walk in? Who buys all that stuff that they just play with for a couple minutes, then, either break, or leave it around to be put in the trash? My wife has her stuff crowding an entire walk-in closet; my stuff takes up maybe a foot of hanger space. I realize that the "double XX" chromosomes impel women to establish and create a home with a nicely decorated and comfortable atmosphere, and as a husband, I am the beneficiary of that. But . . . we have a closet full of towels we never use, a kitchen stocked with gadgets we don't use, a back patio with patio furniture we use maybe once or twice a year, and on and on. Until the thinking of females takes a different turn on shopping, I'm afraid the plundering of this planet will continue. When we move, I always joke with my wife that the person who bought the thing is the person who has to pack and move it. She doesn't appreciate my humor.
  • thumb
    Jun 2 2012: I agree with Shivang Vyas.

    I myself always use my cloth bag each time I go for shopping. Just to avoid plastic bags.
    • Jun 2 2012: It's a good way to help personally &, thankfully, many stores are enouraging this. Thanks for your comment.
  • thumb
    Jun 1 2012: The most important thing is awareness.
    • Jun 2 2012: Do you think, Shivang, that manufacturers are unaware of the environmental impact of their products?
      • thumb
        Jun 5 2012: they may know but, they are not so conscious, or neglecting , about the garbages.

        Garbage Re-cycle process can be used to reduce garbage, few companies following it.
        But not sure what to do with those garbages which are not recyclable.