Heaps of rubbish tower over us, conquering a new part of the world step by step. As we start the new year, we leave behind around 2.6 trillion pounds (about 1.2 trillion kilograms) of trash. This is mainly caused by packaging or the fact that the majority of what we buy is thrown away within 6 months. 

Now that all the celebrations form Christmas are over, the world now must deal with 289,171 tones of card packaging, 125,000 tones of Christmas plastic waste 4,200 tons of foil from turkey wrapping 1 billion Christmas cards 227,000 miles of Christmas wrapping paper waste! On top of having to deal with the rubbish humans produce daily.  

Some of this rubbish can be reused or recycled, but the majority end up in landfills which produce millions of cubic feet of methane gas. However, some of this rubbish also ends up in oceans and forest, which affects the habitats, including animals living there as well as the plants. Many animals eat the waste or accidentally get trapped by the litter usually resulting in suffocation. The main murders are plastic bags, plastic can holders, balloons, and elastic bands. 

There are many different types of waste, but the main, problematic ones include electronic waste (thrown away electronic appliances i.e.: mobile phones, computers & televisions) – roughly 50 million tons of e-waste is produced each year, and it is highly toxic if not treated properly. Guiyu, China, is suspected to be the world’s largest e-waste dump with 700 tons of thrown away electronics each year. Heavy metals and chemicals in e-waste include Arsenic, Lead, Cadmium and Chromium. These can have severe effects on a person’s central nervous system, immune system, and practically everything in the human body. Another common waste type is hazardous chemical waste, usually difficult and expensive to dispose of. However, if not taken care of properly, it could be lethal. And then of course another type of waste is all the things we make and throw away. 

If we do not do anything and just keep going, the world will be conquered by all the waste, and we will be living inside a massive waste land.  

The ways to prevent this is to manufacture products with longer life spans to lessen the amount of rubbish we throw out. Also, we have to try to reuse as much as possible, as many things can have multiple usages. And lastly, we must try and recycle more, such as paper and plastics. They can be repurposed for other uses. Some easy ideas you could do is: 

  • Try not to buy things you know you do not need, or will not use 
  • Buy items with less packaging, and recycle the packaging if there is any 
  • Buy second-hand items 
  • Use reusable things such as bottles, cups, bags, or utensils 
  • Donate your old things that can be used by someone else 

We must take action now, before it becomes too late and we are engulfed by enormous piles of waste, with no way out!