trash cans

Zero Waste Challenge #22: Collect Trash

Pick up trash, join a clean-up, and don’t litter! Having trash floating down the street, snagging in a bush, or flapping in the wind doesn’t just make the world look bad: it also reduces air quality, pollutes waterways, and adversely affects soil. Animals on land and in water may mistake trash for food, affecting their eating habits and eventually killing them.

A lot of what gets chucked out and about is not biodegradable, meaning it cannot break down naturally. This, of course, is a problem not just in the plastic water bottle rolling down the street or the candy wrapper blowing in the wind. It’s also a problem in a landfill because the trash just sits around for years and years without going anywhere while taking up more and more space. Non-biodegradable items include things such as plastic, Styrofoam, synthetic fibres, electronics, and hazardous materials.

How do we avoid all this becoming litter in our streets, rivers, and landfills? Reduce, reuse, recycle. These are the three Rs of sustainability and while recycling and reuse cut down on waste, there are side effects to these too, like the energy it takes to recycle items. So the first port of call should always be to reduce. If you consume less, you create less waste, use less energy, and are faced with fewer conundrums about how to keep the world green.

Read more about the Earth Hero Zero Waste Challenge here.

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