SWANA is pleased to highlight some of the essays submitted as part of SWANA's Grant H. Flint International Scholarship Program.
Let's Talk Trash
By: Ipsita Tingi
Let's talk trash. Solid waste management is a complex process that involves waste generators, waste collectors and waste collection technology, waste recycling and environmentally benign disposal while minimizing the carbon footprint. With the number of solid waste going directly to landfills, society is faced with the challenge of decreasing the impact on the environment. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), an average American produces approximately 4.4 pounds of trash daily. It is everyone's duty to preserve the earth. With the number of solid waste going directly to landfills, society is faced with the challenge of decreasing the impact on the environment. Through education and implementation of sustainable practices the destructive path of humanity can be diverted. Three practices to reduce the amount of trash produced is waste reduction, recycling, and composting.
Waste prevention, especially the use of single-use plastics, is the best method to reduce waste. These plastics are placed for convenience. In a fast food restaurant, plastic utensils, cups, and straws are used. At grocery stores, groceries are carried in plastic bags. Single-use plastics have been a conversation in media in recent years, yet the change to truly alleviate the issue has not fully taken foot. Plastics and chemicals harm marine life, especially their digestive and reproductive systems. Microplastics take hundreds of years to decompose, if they do at all. Some companies have taken steps towards decreasing their plastic production, yet the consumers must change their lifestyle before the businesses with change what they produce. Consumers should carry a tote bag, reusable bamboo or metal utensils, and a water bottle every day. Say no to straws. If one cannot, they should bring their own reusable straw. It's that simple! Educating people about simple changes in their lifestyle and encouraging them makes a difference.
America is seen as a golden land, yet American society produces the most trash per person. Landfills pile up with plastics, compostables, textiles, and other recyclables or items that do not need to be there. Recycling or reusing items will reduce the amount of landfill trash. Fast fashion also contributes significantly to the landfills. Trendy clothing may be cute and cheap, but it is made through unethical and non-sustainable means. Being educated on what one is buying will help reduce waste.
Let's talk trash. Compostable items, such as food, should be either already eaten or composted. They should not enter the landfill. People should be mindful about how much food they waste. Order smaller portions in restaurants or eat the leftovers. Eating less meat and more plant-based meals reduces the amount of water and energy used to create the diet, which helps improve one's carbon footprint. Composting also needs to be made into a program. Citizens should be able to compost either individually or into a community area. This will encourage society to reduce their waste further.
Society should adopt a low-waste and sustainable lifestyle. One individual can lessen the effect on the environment, but it is necessary for the public to adopt this lifestyle for the impact on the environment to truly lessen. To accomplish this, people must be educated on the effects and professionals who manage the waste should promote a low-waste lifestyle. Working together, society can lessen the detrimental effects of waste on the environment.
Ipsita Tingi won the 2019 Category I Grant H. Flint International Scholarship. The Category I scholarship is for graduating high school seniors or graduate equivalent certified candidates who have been accepted for enrollment in a junior college, a four-year college, or a university (any program). Ipsita is a graduating high school senior and will be attending Princeton University. She was nominated by the SWANA Mid-Atlantic Chapter.