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Garbage doesn’t just disappear! How to go beyond “reduce, reuse, recycle”2 min read

Nov 10, 2023 2 min

Garbage doesn’t just disappear! How to go beyond “reduce, reuse, recycle”2 min read

Reading Time: 2 minutes

As the garbage truck pulls away, one cannot help but glance out the window to see the boulevard cleared of garbage bags. A sigh of relief, they are gone… but are they really?

Recently, at the Kitchener landfill site, Waste staff conducting routine maintenance work unearthed a newspaper from the 1970s. We can still read the headlines and articles, know what movies were playing and how much a car cost. Shouldn’t something as natural as paper have disappeared after 50 years?

The truth is buried material in the landfill does not just disappear. Watch our newest video to see for yourself:

Fresh air and clean water are required for healthy decomposition to take place. But in a closed landfill, the material is denied air and water. This is called “anaerobic conditions,” which in essence entombs and petrifies the material.

Go beyond the “Three Rs”

So, what can you do? Residents know the Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle), but people can take their efforts to the next level by following the Rs reverse pyramid shown below. The reverse pyramid outlines what residents could do first and more often at the top and do the least at the bottom. For example, at the top is refusing extra packaging. Next comes reducing unnecessary spending. Then, reusing, repurposing and repairing items when possible. You can let green binning food organics rot into compost. Recycling accepted material is near the bottom, and then lastly landfilling garbage.

Following the reverse pyramid diverts waste away from the landfill and helps extend the life of the landfill. When we commit to protecting the soil, air and water, we help protect the environment now and the future.

An upside-down pyramid with waste reduction tips for people to use at home. From the top: Refuse, Reduce/Repair, Reuse, Rot, Recycle, Landfill.