This story (in the New York Times this morning) is so frustrating to read. It is like a scene out of Wall-E where the humans have generated so much waste, they have to leave and find another planet to buggar up. It reeks (pardon the pun) of one part stupidity and one part arrogance.
Is it really smart to spend millions of taxpayer dollars exporting waste? Toronto ships all its' solid waste to Buffalo. Most east coast states ship their waste west, where there are more landfills. Just the concept of burying your waste and hoping is dumb. Yet we continue to do it while viable alternatives exist.
Other countries are emulating what nature does: making a resource out of waste by establishing commercial composting infrastructure. But that would involve changing peoples behavior: German households separate their waste (shock, horror). Their compost bin is twice the size of their (tiny) trash can. If you want to toss more trash you have to BUY more (expensive) trash cans so you are financially incentivized to reduce landfill-bound waste. Lo and behold, manufacturers start making products that can be composted. But after 5 years in the US, I have figured out that that is never going to work here. A behavior change violates the Constitution. It violates every man, woman and child's right to toss garbage wherever they want to dab nab it. And I can already see Waste Management's lobby rushing to the Hill in protest (How the Supreme Court allowed unlimited lobbying dollars into the system earlier this year beggars belief). In Hawaii, the winning trash export bidder low balls their competition, fails to deliver and the island is now drowning in its' own waste and killing off its' only industry: tourism. Bravo.
And the reason this annoys me so much is because it is directly related to why Kim and I moved 10,000 miles to the US to start gDiapers 5 years ago. When it comes to waste, disposable diapers are the third biggest contributor to landfill yet only 5% of the population use them. 20 BILLION disposable diapers are put into holes in the ground across the US every year where they stay for 500 years. Each. It takes a cup of oil to make a disposable oil. A cup. Of oil. The stuff currently gushing into the Gulf Coast. The two major brands of disposable diapers say they are all over it: their new and improved diapers are getting thinner, so take up LESS landfill. Terrific.
We can put a man on the moon, cure a bunch of previously incurable diseases but we still bury our waste? Can we evolve a little here? Please?