After reading a couple of articles in Newsweek (1,2) and looking back on some of our recent trips to the county transfer site, I began to wonder if the future of garbage collecting will drastically change in the coming years.
Over the past couple of decades many of us have become master recyclers - depending on the community we live in and the system available to us. But even knowing the right thing to do doesn't always prevent the best of us from taking short cuts now and then.
A rental property on our street is currently in the process of being cleaned up. The owners rented a dumpster for all of the debris, to which they've added tree branches, 2x4's and left behind garbage. When N and I joined his siblings in cleaning out his parent's homes, I know we didn't take the time to sort and dispose of the contents properly. Our main goal was to accomplish as much as possible in as few weekends as necessary. So the back of our truck was filled with recyclables such as metal and wood along with the moldy contents of long forgotten closets and cupboards.
According to recent studies, voluntary recycling isn't doing enough to keep our landfills from overflowing. What's next? Will we go back to putting all of our garbage into one receptacle? The difference being that it would travel to a warehouse for others to sort and separate for us? (At additional cost, of course) What will the future transfer site look like? Another conveyor belt system where all the valuable bits will be weeded out?
Very soon, we will no longer have the luxury of tossing our waste at our convenience. We're failing the test and the deciders are looking at ways to make it all work - for our earth, for us and for our future.