Americans create more than 210 million tons of trash
and Vermonters themselves contribute more than
380,000 tons to this total.
Franklin is recognized as a Founding Father of our
nation, but hes not so nearly well known as a
Founding Father of proper solid waste management.
Disgusted by the garbage piling up in the avenues and
alleys of Philadelphia, Franklin created Americas
first street cleaning system, way back in 1757.
Times have certainly changed. We no
longer throw garbage into the streets, but instead send
it to landfills, incinerators, and recycling centers.
Could we still do better? The answer is a resounding yes!
The best way to take care of our trash is to not produce
it in the first place, which saves resources and reduces
concerns about waste disposal. As Ben Franklin said,
"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of
Consider these one dozen ways to
produce less trash and dispose of it properly.
- Before you buy
something anything ask yourself: Do
I need it? Are the resources that went into
it renewable or non-renewable? How many hours
will I have to work to pay for it? Could I borrow
this item from a friend or rent it rather than
purchase it? Is this an impulse buy or is this
something I truly need?
high-quality, durable goods which will outlast
similar goods that are less expensive but poorly
made. Not only does this save natural
resources, you can save money by purchasing
reusable goods that last longer than disposable
- Avoid buying products
with excessive packaging and items not easily
recycled. Give preference to products with no
packaging, little packaging, and packaging with
from scratch and buy in bulk. In addition to
being cheaper and healthier, it's also better for
the environment. For example, compare a large bag
of rice that contains 100 servings and costs $8
against a laminated box of prepared rice that
contains 3 servings and costs $2.19. You would
need 33 laminated and dyed boxes to equal one bag
of plain rice. In addition to a cost savings of
more than $64, those 100 servings of prepared
rice may well contain 62,000 milligrams more
sodium than the plain rice.
- Shop with reusable
bags. Forget the paper versus plastic
conundrum. Instead, buy a cloth bag once and use
it for years.
food and yard scraps. By buying or building a
compost bin, piling the right mix of organic
materials inside it, keeping those materials
moist, and turning them over periodically to
expose them to fresh air, you can have compost
that is ready to use in a matter of months.
- Always buy paper and
other products with a high post-consumer recycled
content. Recycling only works when you buy
recycled. You can also save a tremendous amount
of paper in the home and office by making
you head off to the cafeteria or coffee shop,
remember your personal mug. All those
papercups and little plastic domes add up.
- Reuse your containers.
Rinsed out glass and plastic containers make
great storage containers for food and hardware.
and reuse your propane tanks. If you must
discard a tank, empty it completely and bring it
to a scrap metal dealer.
- Never burn your trash.
Backyard burning only transforms solid waste
into an air pollution problem. Depending upon
what gets burned, the human health and
environmental risks associated with such
pollution are considerable. It's also
against the law.
get on average 34 pounds of junk mail each year.
You didnt ask for it, but you can ask to
make some of it go away. Ways to do this include
writing to the Direct Marketing Association and
telling it to stop its members from sending you
unsolicited mail. The address is:
- Direct Marketing
Mail Preference Service
P.O. Box 9008
Farmingdale, NY 11735
You can also direct
the three major credit bureaus not to sell your
demographic data to direct marketers and list
brokers. The addresses are:
Equifax Marketing Decision
P.O. Box 740123
Atlanta, GA 30374-0123
555 West Adams Street, 8th Floor
Chicago, IL 60661
505 City Parkway West
Orange, CA 92868
major mailing list companies to take your name
off the lists they sell to direct marketers. The
R.L. Polk &
List Compilation and Development
6400 Monroe Blvd.
Taylor, MI 48180-1814
Data Base Operations
1235 N. Avenue
Nevada, IA 50201