Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Trash Talk

Let’s leave some space at the landfill……or maybe we shouldn’t worry about it at all. The footage of a barge loaded with trash traveling from state to state during the nightly news made a deep impression on me when I was young. Ditto the scenes of the New York landfill littered with sea-gulls. Unbeknownst to most of us since then, it turns out such events were more the result of bureaucratic incompetence and local factors rather than an actual shortage of landfill space. One startling statistic from Bjorn Lomborg’s edifying book, The Skeptical Environmentalist, was that if all the trash stored in landfills across the U.S. were to be dumped in one place, the area of this giant landfill would be 1/6th the size of a typical county in Oklahoma. Now it seems that exponential increases in storage efficiency have made it hard on waste disposal companies to actually make a profit taking other people’s trash. As it stands, it appears we can’t be making trash fast enough to keep the dumps satisfied.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is nice to get some real facts about the environment. It seems that we are constantly being bombarded by requests to recycle, use public transport, bike to work, become vegetarians, eat organic food, and the list goes on, all in order to save the environment. There is much passion and urgency behind all of this but very little in the way of cold hard facts. I'm sorry, but if I am going to make major changes to my life style I am going to need real proof that this is necessary and there is no other way.