The landfill on Maui is a great example of kuleana (responsibility). Though we can proclaim that it is a digusting eyesore, all of us have contributed to its ever growing destruction. Taking responsibility for the trash you create by consuming a product, should be made of the utmost priority. Everyone needs to understand proper disposal methods to limit the waste that ends up in landfills or scattered amongst our lands and seas. The gasses and chemicals released from landfill sites are harmful. As rain washes through dumpsites, solids dissolve and mix with liquids which creates an acidic and contaminated fluid that can pollute and contaminate drinking water. The bacteria from the breakdown of organic matter in landfills, such as fruit scraps and vegetable peelings, create a lethal greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. These are just a few harmful effects of waste mismanagement.
Individuals can sort the components of their trash and discard materials properly, to severely reduce the millions of tons of trash that is produced each year by the nation. Home recycling does take a trivial dedication of time, but offers more than sufficient benefits to the homeowner and the environment. Recycling in the home can make a difference on both a local and global level.
The basics of recycling should be reviewed. The category of Papers and Carboard include newspapers, magazines, glossy printed flyers, phone books, envelopes, computer paper and paper packaging. Remove any rubber bands or plastic wrapping. Carbon paper, stickers and laminated materials should not be included in this category. Effort should be made to recycle all plastic waste. Plastic goods, bottles, grocery bags and polystyrene packaging should be carefully separated by the specific type of plastic. Glass containers are recycled according to color: clear, green and brown. Light bulbs, sheet glass, mirrors and pyrex should be kept separate from traditional glass jars and bottles. Aluminum, Steel and Copper recyclables include food cans, aluminum cans, aluminum foil, foil packaging, copper, bronze and brass. Paint cans and aerosol are recyclable but are hazardous and need to be kept separate from other metals. Electronic goods like printers, computers and hardware along with cell phones and rechargeable batteries should be deposited at appropriate e-cycling centers.
Some tips for home recycling; Visit your local recycling center to find out what is accepted at which specific centers on the island. Set up your home recycling bins according to these categories. Once a bin system is established at home, recycling becomes an easier chore. Labeling these bins will ensure materials are separated correctly. Rinsing recyclables will reduce pests and dirty work when its time to transport to the recycling center. Composting is the solution for household green scraps.
To reduce your production of waste overall, purchase products with the highest percentage of “post-consumer” recycled content. Post consumer means the materials used in the manufacturing process were returned by consumers and successfully recycled. The Freecycle movement is a great idea as well, you can give away for free what you have and don’t need and you receive for free what you need, but don’t have. This exchange of goods keeps lots of useful stuff out of the landfill. We must reduce consumption and demand products made primarily with recycled content. This will ensure that the materials we recycle are put to use, and these markets are sustained.