The Effects of Waste and Landfills on the Environment

Abigail Gutjahr, Author

If you’ve ever gotten rid of a waste product by discarding it in a trash can, then you have participated in normal human habits. A waste product is anything, whether manufactured or natural, that has been used and then thrown away; things such as leftover food, plastic containers, plastic silver wear, foam cups, tin cans, soft drink cups & containers, cardboard boxes, paper, and tin foil are waste products. Have you ever thought about what becomes of waste once it is discarded? Where does the waste go; it just disappears, right? Wrong!! 

Although waste does eventually decompose, much of it takes an exceedingly long time to do so and releases harmful gases such as carbon dioxide and methane (a carbon dioxide compound that is more harmful and longer lasting) into the atmosphere during the process. The release of harmful gases into the atmosphere is called air pollution, but there are other types of pollution. Pollution is when something toxic, harmful, and potentially deadly is introduced to an environment and its inhabitants. Wasting is a choice, not a necessity; next time you’re thinking about buying something, think about what it is stored in. Is it stored in cardboard, paper, or plastic, etc.?  If so is there another packaging choice or a way to reuse or recycle the packaging?