A Slower Economy Means Less Trash in Landfills

| 3/16/2009 5:28:14 PM

Tags: landfills, waste, economy, recession,

It's no news that millions of people are tightening their belts during the recession, but what is news is one unintended silver lining. As people are buying less in general — and are repairing or refurbishing what they already have rather than running out for replacement items — landfills around the United States are seeing a significant decrease in volume. According to the Washington Post, some landfills are showing declines as large as 30 percent! Even when repair isn't an option, many people are turning to sites such as Freecycle for their shopping — and every toaster or mattress found at Freecycle means, yet again, one less product for the dump pile. Freecycle alone has gained up to 70,000 new members a week since last fall. Recession or no, less waste is certainly something to be excited about. Now hopefully we can remember the mantra of "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Repair" even after we've worked our way back into black.

You can find out more in the full article, A Trashed Economy Foretold.

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E. Neal_2
3/26/2009 9:41:03 AM

I've started a little urban homestead and it's funny how little waste it creates. The only trash coming out of my little project will be the dry rotted remains of 5 gallon buckets and plant containers that I take from the side of the road to fill with my awesome homemade planting mix. Everything else gets worked back into the ground eventually. I don't think what I do will make a whole lot of difference, but it's a lot of fun. I'm just starting, but it'll be interesting to see if my trash can starts to be less and less full. Maybe I ought to track that along with my harvest records! I'm enjoying living "down to earth", and I think inevitably the rest of America will have to do the same.

3/17/2009 12:01:05 PM

Every cloud has a silver lining. In this case, I'm tending more to think that the cloud is the afterthought. *If* we could learn to make these patterns of consumer behavior stick around once things start looking up-- *if* things start looking up before accelerating effects of climate change start taking big bites out of our economy-- it could represent a major change for the better in the American lifestyle. Less stuff. Less waste. Less manufacture. Less spending on crap. Wow. Of course, it's really bad news for thrift shoppers like me. Less merchandise going in, and more competition for it. And it would mean that any economic recovery would be slower. Possibly (probably) much slower. It would mean that there may not be a "full" economic recovery (that is to say, we might never make it back to the overblown, overinflated, false highs of two years ago). WalMart's going to suffer. VISA is going to suffer. Et al. It might also mean a more stable, more sustainable economy. Based on need, instead of greed. Well. Aren't I making noises like an eutopian today.

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