Earth 911: America is Running Out of Room

This week’s post is a call to awareness about America’s landfills – and about one of our student’s passion for decreasing our contributions to these quickly-filling disposal areas.  Calvin, a Drummers and Ursids alumni, shares his ideas and highlights some compelling reasons why we should all get on the recycling bandwagon!


Calvin L.

America is quickly running out of room to dispose of its garbage. Every morning as dawn breaks across America, a fleet of garbage trucks begins a day’s work. These garbage trucks are responsible for carrying 784 million tons of garbage generated by Americans each year. This tonnage is equivalent to the weight of 130 million elephants!   According to recent EPA statistics, garbage generation rates increased by twice the amount of recycling rates. This trend will only lead to an ever-increasing amount of garbage each year that needs to be disposed of in some way.

Although landfills are the most common way to dispose of garbage, they have many drawbacks. Valuable resources (e.g. recyclable materials) have a useless end in landfills. Sadly, landfills last; so does the garbage. For example, a plastic bottle in a landfill lasts up to 1,000 years and a glass bottle lasts about 1 million years. Day after day, garbage continues to disfigure our landscape. Unfortunately, there is no convenient place to construct new landfills. In the future, where will we have room to bury 130 million elephants every year?

I believe that recycling is the solution for minimizing our landfill waste. Indeed, America is running out of room. However, we do not have to fill our landfills this quickly. Many things can be done to remedy our problem. Ultimately, the power to change America’s startling garbage statistics lies within you. For example, by recycling 1 aluminum can, you can save enough energy to power 3 CFL lightbulbs for 9.5 hours. It only takes 5 water bottles to make the fiber for a t-shirt or the fill for a ski jacket. I can. You can. We all can—save the earth! If you do not already recycle, there are several resources you can use to find available recycling programs. The best option is to contact your garbage company or municipality. In addition, you can search for recycling programs on websites such as When will you start?

I am doing my part…will you?