waste not, want not
Landfills in Texas are, literally, a growing problem. The Lone Star State alone has 12 landfills towering above 200 feet tall. There’s no shortage of landfill space, either. Texas counties have, on average, over 40 years of reserve capacity. We even have 3 landfills with over 2000 years of space!
Mega-landfill companies constantly claim more (and bigger) landfills are needed, repeating "the trash has to go somewhere" as if landfills are the only possible solution. Fortunately this is far from true and many better alternatives do exist -- but it will take effective education and advocacy to shape a future without dumps. Click here to contact your state legislators.
Trash is more than just an eyesore -- it's become clear that waste also contributes to global climate change. Landfills are the biggest human-caused source of methane emissions, a powerful greenhouse gas. Trash incinerators also produce nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Reducing waste and recycling more helps in the fight against global warming by eliminating landfill gasses and saving much of the energy (and carbon emissions) required to make products from virgin materials. Landfill neighbors often join environmentalists to move the discussion far beyond stereotypical “not in my backyard” arguments. Learn more about waste and climate change.
A better solution, achievable now
Zero waste is at once both the concept and the goal of eliminating waste altogether. Just as there is no waste in nature, proponents argue that the very idea of waste is unnecessary. Of course, advocates don’t expect literally no waste at all, but often use a 90% reduction as a benchmark. Austin has become this first Texas city to commit to zero waste as its goal. However, dozens of cities around the country and world are already several steps ahead. San Francisco’s recycling rate is already approaching 70%. Two-thirds of the cities in New Zealand have adopted zero waste goals. Learn more about zero waste.
The long-term solution is to reduce trash by dramatically increasing recycling and making products more recyclable by making producers responsible for the end of life of their products, which creates the bottom line incentive for producers to design for recycling.
Environmental organization makes way through Lubbock (My Fox Lubbock)
Arlington landfill expansion approved (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)