The Secret Life of Trash
“Progress is impossible without change and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”-George Bernard Shaw, Political activist in the early 1900s
The waste that we are disposing and the way that we are disposing of it is changing. According to the United State’s Environmental Protection Agency, at least 254 million tons of trash is generated daily. Waste disposal has impacted communities and lives for centuries but somehow we haven’t found a good solution for it. We have not addressed the growing problem of trash going into our waterways and soil. That neglect is starting to impact our communities and everyday lives.
Communities, such as Amherst, have set up systems for disposing waste but then their citizens turn a blind eye to what businesses do with the waste once it is not our responsibility. Some businesses are responsible with their trash decomposition, such as MDs Trash Removal. According to their website, MDs uses the trash-to-energy process. The trash-to-energy process includes gathering up methane gas and carbon dioxide created by natural wastes such as fruits and vegetables. After those gases are collected in underground tubes and wells they are transported to a facility where they are cleaned and used by our community.
Other trash removal services such as Waste Management don’t responsibly dispose of the waste they collect. According to The Salem News toxins from a Lowell treatment plant run by Waste Management are being dumped into the Merrimack River. “The new permit, issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, allows the plant to accept up to 100,000 gallons of wastewater a day from the landfill…” claims Christian M. Wade, a statehouse reporter. The pollutants being dumped are not your everyday chemicals. They are polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS which are also called “forever substances” because they take thousands of years to degrade and don’t leave your body after ingestion. Waste Management has the technology to remove PFAS from the waste being dumped into our beloved Merrimack River, but they have chosen not to act on the dumping concerns.
Before choosing a waste disposal company, look into them. Make sure that the company is reliable and not impacting the planet in a way that is unfavorable. Most companies’ websites tell you how they dispose of the waste they collect, but others don’t. Make a quick phone call or write a short email to find out before you choose. Every little bit of knowledge helps when it comes to having a sustainable Earth that is livable, not litter-ridden.