Did you know that 1,300 tons of trash is buried at the Salt Lake City landfill every day? Here in Salt Lake we currently have a recycling rate of 19%. What does that mean to your house? For every 100 pounds of stuff that can be recycled every month, only 19 pounds actually gets recycled. Multiply that by every house in your neighborhood, and just on your street that’s a lot of stuff ending up in the landfill that could be recycled.
What can you do? The first thing each of us can do is cut down or eliminate single-use products: paper towels, paper plates, frozen dinners, individual bottles of water or other drinks. Use cloth napkins, actual plates, make your own single-serve freezer meals and carry a water bottle.
The next thing to do is refuse to purchase items that are over packaged. For example, at the grocery store when buying the larger pack of toilet paper, make sure that each four-pack inside is not individually wrapped. Does toilet paper really need to be double packaged? So many things come with more packaging than actual product, if you get home and find this is the case with something you recently purchased, send an email to the company explaining that you really like their product but would love it if there was not so much packaging waste. If enough people do this, companies will start to listen.
If each of us would just make the small changes listed here it would make a huge difference. We live in a beautiful place, but if we continue to bury 1,300 tons of trash a day how much longer will Utah remain beautiful? What legacy are we leaving for our children and grandchildren? If we make small changes now, these things will become second nature to our kids when they are adults and they will add their own small changes, creating a snowball effect and a cleaner planet for us all.