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  • Writer's pictureJoe Garms

Recycle, Reduce, Reuse

Our human footprint doesn’t end after we buy and consume things.

In 2006, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimated trash disposal was 4.6 pounds per person, per day. Sixty-five percent came from residences and 35 percent came from schools, hospitals and businesses. Fifty-five percent gets buried in landfills, 33 percent gets recycled, and 12.5 percent goes to incinerators.

Despite careful engineering, landfills have adverse environmental impact by leaking toxic liquids into the groundwater, releasing gases into the air when trash is burned, causing acid rain.

Although trash, food scraps, leaves, tree trimmings and paper are biodegradable, when they go to a landfill they may be sealed in the ground and therefore won’t decompose because most microorganisms that assist biodegradation need temperature, light, water and oxygen that is not available.

Plastic, glass, and aluminum take a long time to decompose because microorganisms do not recognize them as food and therefore they remain in layers in landfills.

Reducing, reusing, and recycling help decrease the number of materials that go to landfills and decrease the need for natural resources, energy and labor needed to create and maintain landfills.

Here are some ideas to keep items from going to landfills: 1) Create ways to reuse plastic containers, plastic grocery bags, newspapers and glass containers. 2) Buy used items to reduce natural resources and the cost of energy production. 3) Purchase items that have less packaging and are packaged from recycled materials. 4) Compost degradable materials at home, school, and church.

The City of Longview Recycling Division hosts electronics recycling two times per year, on the second Saturday of April and the second Saturday of November.

The Best Buy store in Longview recycles rechargeable batteries, wires, cords, cables and plastic bags.

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