In this documentary, released just this past December, Jeremy Irons travels around the world to find out what happens to all the trash we, as a collective, generate. It's a lot. And it's a lot that doesn't easily biodegrade.
It's noted on the film's website that, "Each year, we now throw away fifty-eight billion disposable cups, billions of plastic bags, 200 billion litres of water bottles, billions of tons of household waste, toxic waste and e-waste."
As one gentleman in the trailer mentions, nature sustains itself by "building up and breaking down." Much of the waste we generate, however, does not. Certain plastics, for example, require special conditions to break down, including sunlight, which they often aren't adequately exposed to when they are buried in landfills or, worse, thrown into the ocean. And even if many plastics did receive the requisite sunlight, it is estimated they would still take between 500 and 1000 years to degrade back into the environment. And landfills can make it difficult for even things banana peels to biodegrade, as they can create a "trash tomb" that mummifies the trash buried in them.
For those interested in seeing the whole film, it can be pre-ordered through its website. While one is given the (somewhat ironic) option to purchase a physical copy, there is also the option to order it as a download. The website also offers 10 tips for reducing one's waste.
See what new habits you can incorporate into your life to further reduce your waste, and challenge yourself to add at least one or two new waste-reducing actions to your repertoire for 2013. For example, start bringing your own reusable doggy-bag container with you when you eat out, use small cloth bags to buy more foods in bulk at the grocery store, donate your used sneakers rather than throwing them in the trash, or start a equipment-share program in your neighborhood.
For more tips on reducing your own trash output, check out these additional websites:
- Pedal People's Ways to Reduce Trash
- Take Steps Toward Having a Paperless Office
- Get Rid of Junk Mail