The industrialized world isn't really a "waste not, want not" culture. It's more "Shop till you drop!" And people do shop, creating huge amounts of waste in the process.
Since World War II, household waste from the average U.S. and Canadian home has increased greatly. Over the past 45 years, people in the United States have gone from producing 2.7 pounds (1.2 kg) of waste a day to 4.6 pounds (2.1 kg) a day, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Key Note Market Assessments (a primary research group providing strategic analysis reports) predicts that worldwide municipal waste production will grow 37 percent between 2007 and 2011.
Changes in marketing and merchandising have significantly added to packaging. Elizabeth is old enough to remember when you went to a local hardware store if you needed nails for a home building project. The person behind the counter would put the nails in a paper bag and weigh them. Zoë's nail-buying experiences have been in modern, barn-like, hardware emporiums. To reduce staff and make shoplifting harder, such stores invented the dreaded bubble-pack approach. To buy a few nails, you buy a big piece of cardboard encased in hard plastic that defies any opening technique except a major attack with scissors. Multiply that packaging approach by a zillion, and you can see how our society wastes so much energy in packaging and why the garbage is piling up.
About 5 percent of worldwide emissions come from waste, according to the IPCC. Landfills rot, adding methane and carbon dioxide to the air. Sewage water is another source of methane — and it adds a dose of nitrous oxide to the mix. Anything that you throw in the trash ratchets up the amount of methane in the landfill, even items such as broken furniture, old toys, and shoes. In some provinces in Canada, coffee cups make up more than a quarter of all materials in the landfill.
Developing countries consume far less per capita, but that doesn't mean they don't have a garbage problem. In fact, it's a different kind of problem — many countries have garbage but no funds for garbage collection or landfills, let alone the luxury of recycling plants. While developing countries are industrializing and building their economies, they're helping increase the amount of waste made in the world. Their wallets are growing, but so are their garbage piles — following in the footsteps of developed countries around the world.
The fast, cheap, and high-emission solution is to simply burn the waste. But burning waste builds up greenhouse gas emissions even further, putting us into a dizzying cycle. Because the volume of waste that civilization produces keeps rising, it has to come up with new ways to deal with it. Many great technologies enable humanity to process garbage back into what closely resembles dirt after only a few years. We go over ways to reduce the amount of garbage you produce in Chapter 18.
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This book will surely change your life due to the fact that after reading this book and following through with the steps that are laid out for you in a clear and concise form you will be earning as much as several thousand extra dollars a month, as you can see by the cover of the book we will be discussing how you can make cash for what is considered trash by many people, these are items that have value to many people that can be sold and help people who need these items most.