Garbage is a big problem all over the world. People buy and use a lot of things nowadays. After a while, they throw them away in the garbage bin. All the garbage is later thrown away or dumped outside the city. These places are called landfill sites. In many cities, landfill sites are now full.
About one-third of all the garbage is made of paper. Another third of the garbage is a mix of glass, metal, plastic, and wood. The final third comes from food scraps. These are remains of food that are not eating any more. Food scraps are not a big garbage problem for the environment. Our natural world can get rid of food scraps. Insects and bacteria eat the food scraps and make them go away.
But this does not happen with other materials. Plastic is very toxic to the environment. It poisons the earth and the water. We use plastic for many things, such as combs or pens. Also, when we buy something from the supermarket, we get a plastic bag. As soon as we get home, we throw the bag away. Plastic is also used to make Styrofoam. All take-out coffee cups and fast-food boxes are made of Styrofoam. When we buy coffee and drink it on the street, we throw that cup away too.
Other garbage we throw away is metal. The cans for soft drinks or beer are made of aluminum. Aluminum is toxic too. The paper and wood we throw away are not toxic. But we have to cut down many trees every year to make paper and wood. Our environment suffers when there are no forests around. The air is less fresh, and the earth dries up. With no water in the earth, plants cannot grow.
Solutions to the garbage problem
We have to manage our waste and garbage better. If we throw away so many things, soon we will have no place to dump them.
The best thing to do is to reduce the amount of garbage. If we use less, we throw away less. For instance, we can buy food in big boxes and packages. Then we throw away only one box i every month or so. Otherwise, we throw away many small boxes or cans every day.
Similarly, we can reuse a lot of packaging. For example, we do not have to buy take-out coffee in Styrofoam cups. We can bring our own cup from home and fill it with fresh coffee. We also do not have to take the plastic bags from the supermarket. We can bring our own cloth bag from home instead. When we pack lunch, it is better to use a lunch box than a paper bag. Instead of paper plates, we can use real plates. We can clean up with a dishtowel, not a paper towel. We can use a compost bin for food scraps. In this way, the food gets back into the earth. It does not get mixed up with the regular garbage.
Finally, all paper, glass and metal we do use, we can recycle. In many countries, there are now recycling programs. In Germany, for example, people separate all glass bottles by color. Then they put the bottles into special bins that are on the street. The city collects the glass, cleans it, and reuses it. As well, in most countries, people recycle newspapers and cardboard. It is easy and efficient.