Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Time to talk trash...

With Earth Day approaching, it's not only a good time to think about sustainability, but to actually do something. And one area of our lives that is calling for attention is our garbage can. Too many of us are completely oblivious to what happens to our garbage after it's picked up. Once it's gone, we wash our hands, figuratively and literally.

In Swampscott, MA our garbage is carted to the Wheelabrator waste-to-energy plant in Saugus. There it is incinerated and energy is produced. Sounds like a good thing, right? Unfortunately, while Wheelabrator describes this as "clean energy," it seems debatable considering the extremely toxic fly ash that is a by-product of the process and that is being deposited in Rumney Marsh. And eventually there will be no more room for this waste. In addition, much of the trash that is being incinerated could be recycled or reused.

I challenge Swampscott residents to take a look at what is in their garbage can and see if it could not be put in recycling instead. And instead of spending money on fertilizers and top soil, get a composter and create your own rich, nutritious humus with food waste.

There is a lot more to discuss on this topic, but now I have to take a call from my son who just broke a compact flourescent bulb on his carpet.