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Rethinking Waste

Updated on May 27, 2015

How many items do you throw away on a daily basis? Of those, how many could you use for a different purpose? Do you really need to keep buying things for only one use? Why not keep certain items and use them for different tasks around your home or workspace? Not only would it save you money, it would go a long way in helping clean our world. If every household took active steps to reuse and recycle, our negative imprint on the planet would lessen. Eventually we may be able to completely reverse the damage we have done, at which point we would cease to be the virus we have become.


TerraCycle is a company founded on the idea that there is no such thing as garbage. Their purpose is to recycle and reuse everything, creating a zero waste world. They are an advocate of responsible consumerism and cutting down on the shear volume of unnecessary purchases people make everyday. Anyone can send their garbage to this company for free, they cover the cost of shipping. They accept anything from food wrappers to dirty diapers, just put all like items in the same box and ship it to the appropriate location. If you are trying to lessen the amount of material you throw in the trash or are looking for environmental alternatives to landfills, TerraCycle may be a good choice for you.



Industrial waste is a huge problem and we all contribute to it whether we realize it or not. Most of us may not even be aware of how much trash is created just putting products on the market; let alone building and maintaining our infrastructure. These waste materials come from our factories, the vehicles we drive, the farms that produce our food and the companies that construct the buildings we use for homes and businesses. A company called repurposedMaterials is finding innovative ways of reusing much of what would normally end up in landfills or burned. Quoted from the company about its purpose:

"Re-purposing is a creative reuse that diverts materials from landfills to give them a second life in a new industry. We’ve come a long way since recycling was introduced for curb side pick up, and re-purposing is going to take the sustainable materials management to a whole new level. Re-purposing is on the forefront of our modern day culture and ensures the environmental protection of future generations."

Try Re-Purposing Common Items

All Food Items
Shredded Paper Products
Coffee Cans
Sheets of Plastic
Plant Debris
Soda Bottles
Old Blankets/Sheets

Better Buying

As a nation, Americans generate more waste than any other nation in the world, 55% of which is classified as residential garbage. Think about that, the biggest polluters are not big companies who care only for profit, it is the average person. True, the big companies produce the products in the first place, but they wouldn't if there was no demand. We are responsible for what we buy, therefore the consumer drives what makes it to market shelves. If we all come together and refuse to purchase items that only contribute to the growing mess, it will go a long way. We do not need to radically change overnight, but we do need to take steps in the right direction. Some tips to buying responsibly:

  • Don't buy individually wrapped items.
  • Don't buy products that only serve one purpose.
  • Bring reusable bags for shopping.
  • Buy items with biodegradable packaging.
  • Don't buy products you don't need.
  • Consider the negative impacts of your purchases.


When people see mountains of garbage they get the impression that we need complicated solutions to eliminate the trash that is plaguing our world. That assumption couldn't be farther from the truth. Yes we do need better ways of dealing with our waste in general, but if everyone helped out we could potentially eradicate the issue within our lifetimes. How long does it really take to bend over and pick up a piece of trash or take a few extra steps and put it in the right container in the first place? The truth is it doesn't take much at all and we have become to complacent about the litter that dots our world.

Organizations and volunteers all over the world are combing beaches, forests and the oceans trying to gather the waste that we all produce. It's not enough; everything they pick up is replaced daily. They still do it though because they believe in saving our world. They do not want to live in a garbage pile, and quite frankly, neither do I. People are already trying to clean up, we should all join in and see what 7 billion people can do. If we don't then will only bring about our on destruction, and we will have earned it.

Our Legacy


Are any of these options viable to you?

See results

The current way we do things doesn't work. It was fine before the industrial revolution, when everything we produced was biodegradable. Now however, nature can't keep up with us and most of what we make will take thousands of years to break down. Think about that for a minute, just about everything you throw away now will still be around long after your great, great, great grandchildren are dead and gone. Now compound that to almost every person who lives in a "modern" country. Is this really the legacy we want to leave behind? Do we really want to be known as the generation that made the world into a garbage heap? We need a change and that change begins with all of us. It doesn't matter if it's hard, it has to be done. For those who need an incentive, I have to ask, what is wrong with you? The fact that we are destroying our world should be enough. The fact that we are leaving future generations a problem that gets worse everyday should be enough. The fact that we made this mess should be enough. Be an adult and take responsibility for your actions, no one else will do it for you.

© 2014 Katrina


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    • Katrina Speights profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Texas

      Thank you, I'm glad you liked it. I agree, we have to do something now, we can't keep pushing the problem further down the road. Eventually we will run out of road.

    • Katrina Speights profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Texas

      I was happy to learn learn of TerraCycle as well. Been looking for other companies like them but can't find any, if I do I will add them here.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      4 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Bravo! I'm posting this on my FB page with a link directly to this hub. I'm passionate about this topic and very happy to learn about the company TerraCycle. I'll be sharing this all over the place. A big thanks to you! - Audrey

    • chef-de-jour profile image

      Andrew Spacey 

      4 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

      Some good tips and information, thank you. The message is simple - If not You Who, if not Now When? Education would help, starting at an early age.

      Voted up and shared.


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