The Risks Hiding in Household Garbage

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Every household in America produces solid waste that eventually is added to landfill sites, resulting in huge amounts of hazardous material that could potential harm the environment due to the chemicals that it emits.   Fortunately there are ways in which every consumer can limit the damaging effects this can have on the planet and potentially the future of humankind.

It is not easy to accept that our household garbage constitutes part of the problem.  Even so, this issue has become more than just a political controversy; there is a growing awareness in cities across the country amongst ordinary citizens of the danger lurking in landfill sites and the impending impact on ourselves and the future of the environment.

A number of municipalities have initiated recycling programs to cope with the ever-increasing mountains of glass, paper and plastic created in their constituencies.  The public is coming round and making an effort to participate in these programs by separating their garbage into the prescribed categories such as paper, glass and plastic, to the benefit of the environment’s future.

Interestingly, 20% of the hazardous objects contained in landfills across America consists of disposable AA, C and D batteries used on a daily basis to power various gadgets such as electronic games, toys, audio equipment and so on.  In fact, alkaline batteries make up 84,000 tons of the garbage disposed of by US households every year. 

Once a battery’s power runs out, we put it in the garbage without another thought of where it will go to from there and simply go out to purchase another one that will eventually follow the same route.

Unfortunately for us and the environment, these alkaline cells contain hazardous material not encountered by appliance operators in normal use. It is only when the batteries end up in landfills and the covering is crushed or degrades that the toxins such as mercury which it contains leaks into the environment.

The effects of this process can be very damaging but in fact, eliminating the risks posed by batteries in landfill sites is not that difficult!  For example, opting for rechargeable batteries offers one possible solution since these power sources can be reused up to 1,000 times and one rechargeable battery can fill the shoes of 300 disposable units, thereby preventing both the batteries themselves and their packaging material such as paper and plastic from finding their way into landfills.

Various programs by producers of rechargeable batteries to promote these products.  For example, a major manufacturer guarantees a lifetime replacement of all round cells, if it should ever become impossible to charge them.  They will replace any such batteries and recycle the used ones.  Programs such as these go a long way towards ensuring that rechargeable batteries do not end up in landfill sites.

Find out if there is an environmental organization in your neighborhood and see if you could initiate or assist with projects to safely dispose of used batteries.  Your contributions will be appreciated.


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