This morning I saw our neighbor dump a leaf and trash mixture onto one of the beach burn piles. I asked them to not dump trash there and they said that they would take it away. They ended up putting it on another pile on the other side of their property. I thought about how I could convince them that this is not the solution. But then I began to wonder if I was right. Is sending it away in plastic bags on a dump truck to an unknown location better?
Well I did about 15 minutes of research, and yes, it is bad to burn trash. The chemicals that burn into the air and are left in the ground can cause some major medical problems over time. I didn’t find any studies about wildlife, but I am pretty sure it would have an adverse affect. A Canadian government site I found laid out all the information clearly.
Trash management is an issue that every single person across the globe deals with every day. Most people mindlessly throw away without thinking about the consequences. I am just as guilty as the next person. When I am in a cleaning frenzy I just throw away not thinking at all about how I could repurpose something, etc. I feel good that I am not burning my trash. But can I feel good about knowing it is being buried or burned by my government?
Costa Rica has taken great environmental steps in a lot of fields. However, they are far behind in waste management. I don’t necessarily blame my neighbor for the lack of infrastructure provided by the government. While the Costa Rican government has not been very successful with waste management, I can’t really say that I am proud of the USA’s waste management either. The world as a whole needs to rethink the amount of waste they produce. It starts in the house, in the kitchen, the bathroom, but ends up in the air, water, and earth.
I have found that it is a lot easier to recycle, compost, and generally use less when I am at home in Virginia. When I travel I produce more waste. Especially with a toddler!
What are some things travelers can do to eliminate waste?
1- Carry a reusable water bottle with you.We use (and love) the Klean Kanteen insulated bottles http://www.kleankanteen.com/collections/insulated/products/vacuum-insulated-16oz?variant=914771047
For those of you that don’t prefer to carry a bulky bottle around there are water pouch options. These pouches are great when you have limited space. There seem to be a lot of options out there, but this seems like a good company. https://vapur.us
2 – Ask questions.Don’t be afraid to ask about recycling or trash wherever you travel. If enough people ask about it hopefully they will put a little bug in someone’s ear.
These are just two actions that can make a big difference. There are so many other “green” things you can do, but I am into simplicity. This is simple. Be the change.
I know that there is a lot to say about trash management. Please leave a comment below about issues, solutions, green traveler ideas, etc.