Posts Tagged ‘landfills’

What’s the Deal With Landfills?

On Saturday, August 29, Zerolandfill Nashville will host its annual harvest–an event that aims to divert thousands of pounds of design and construction materials from our landfills by donating those items to artists and community members.

So what’s the big deal about landfills? Check out these facts and stats.

An excavator crushes trash at the Anchorage Landfill, Aug. 21. The landfill provides the methane that powers the newly constructed Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Landfill Gas Plant. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Brian Ferguson)
The United States has 3,091 active landfills and more than 10,000 old municipal landfills, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. There are currently 34 landfills in Tennessee.

More than 50 percent of our trash is sent to landfills.

Each year, some 34 million tons of paper is thrown away and ends up in landfills.

Poorly managed landfills can leak and contaminate groundwater, and the methane gas emitted by the decaying matter is a hazardous greenhouse gas and has a negative impact on the atmosphere.

Plastic bags take 10-20 years to decompose in a landfill; plastic bottles can take 450 years.

Aluminum cans can take 200-250 years, Lumber- 10-15 years, and synthetic carpet can take thousands of years to fully decompose in a landfill.

Paper or Plastic?

I recently visited the California Bay area. I was amazed and impressed by the statewide efforts to reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in landfills. In 2014, California became the first state to ban the use of plastic bags in retail stores and even charges between 10 and 15 cents for paper bags. One reason for the ban: In California, approximately 24 billion bags end up in landfills every year. And across the country, people use some 100 billion plastic bags each year, but only about 5 percent of those bags are recycled and most end up in landfills or waterways.

Even though there’s no ban on plastic bags in Tennessee, we  can all do our part to reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in the trash. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

 

Use old plastic bags to make this durable plastic wreath. Get directions here.
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Nail polish and Mod Podge can turn a plastic bag into a funky bead necklace. Learn how here.

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Follow these instructions and create “fabric” from plastic bags.
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Then when you’ve mastered the process, use it to create this cute headband slider.
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Use Your Noodle: Upcycle!

Did you know pool noodles are made of  polyethylene foam? And did you know that polyethylene foam and other foam products fill up 30 percent of our landfill space, and landfills are fast becoming full? Non-recycled, cross-linked polyethylene foam waste takes many hundreds, or even thousands of years to degrade, generating serious problems for the stability and longevity of landfills. So before you throw away last summer’s noodles, check out these creative ways to upcycle them and divert them from the landfills.

USE POOL NOODLES FOR BATH TIME WATER PLAY

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USE POOL NOODLES TO BABY PROOF YOUR HOUSE

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USE POOL NOODLES TO DECORATE! CHECK OUT THE RAINBOW HEADBOARD!

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CUT NOODLES DOWN THE MIDDLE AND MAKE A COOL MARBLE OR TOY CAR TRACK.

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