Archived Story

It’s time to change our “throw-away” mentality

Published 3:35pm Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Let’s face it – Americans enjoy a lifestyle of consumerism and consumption. Unfortunately one negative impact of this lifestyle is over-consumption and excessive production of disposable items. Ours is a “throw-away” society that is having a negative impact society and nature.

It is estimated that by the end of this year, 222 million tons of waste will be generated by Americans and that waste could fill a convoy of garbage trucks long enough to wrap around the earth six times and reach halfway to the moon.  We are a “disposable” society. We dine at fast food restaurants,  are served food wrapped in disposable paper, paper cups and plastic service ware. Each American individual uses up to 20 tons of basic raw materials annually.  We prefer convenience and quick fixes. According to the organization Food Democracy, based on the consumption level of the average American, at least four additional planets worth of resources would be needed to support our planet’s six billion inhabitants.

Listed below are just a few simple things we can do to cut back on waste and create a more sustainable environment:

  • Walking rather than driving short distances
  • Car pooling to and from work
  • Cutting back on paper and throw-away products
  • Recycling waste products
  • Utilizing renewable energy
  • Cutting back on electrical usage
  • Learning to re-use items rather than throw them away

It is clearly time for our society to consider the problems we are creating for our entire planet through our disposable, throw-away lifestyle.  The solution to this problem begins when we as individuals recognize that we can make a difference – one person at a time. If we are to create a culture of a sustainable lifestyle, our first goal must be to learn how to meet our human needs while preserving our environment, not just for today but for future generations.

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