How to stop being a trash person

Written by Kajsa IngelssonOctober 25, 2018

The importance of recycling have been stressed for decades. It used to be a good solution; simply separate glass, aluminium and plastic instead of placing it in the trash. That was then. A lot has changed the last 20, say even 10, years.

There’s a lot more humans on the planet and with a ever growing demand for conveniences (happy now capitalists?), we are generating massive amounts of trash. Bottled water, pre-packaged food and snacks, and other single-use items now line store shelves and fill our cupboards at home. We buy items with convenience in mind and not a single thought on sustainability. Well guess what, this is no bueno and we have to deal with it NOW.

Houston, we have a problem.

I used to be as many others, tossing my plastic in the recycling bin helped me feel better about the purchase. It made it justified. You see billboards on how recycled plastic turn into plastic bottles and read “made from recycled …..” on many products. YEY It’s working! Or is it?

First I’d like to say that recycling programs and the awareness they bring has helped to keep a lot of toxic trash out of landfills. However, we are now producing so much trash that the recycling factories can’t keep up. Most of the trash from North America (16 million tons from the US in 2016) and Europe is sent to China, and they have as of last January (2018) banned the import of any foreign trash.

Now domestic recycling companies are trying to figure out how to do. And while they are doing so, our “justified” recycled products are ending up in landfills and our oceans with all the other trash we produce as a species.

Do all wishes come true? Unfortunately not without some work.

This is the problem with “wish cycling”. Not everything can be recycled, even if it’s made out of plastic, metal or wood.  Most common items on this list include dirty diapers, soiled food containers, coffee cups and plastic cutlery.

Trash collection and recycling facilities are sometimes able to sort through recycled materials to pull these items out, but that’s not always the case. It’s important for people to understand their local recycling guidelines and to remember that tossing something into a recycling bin doesn’t mean it can or will be recycled. It can in worst case ruin the whole batch.

The law of the 4 R’s must be at the forefront of everyone’s mind.

Refuse… Reduce … Reuse … Recycle. In this order people! People and societies as a whole are focusing more on the last part and forgetting about the first three. The results are catastrophic and has lead us to produce more waste than ever. According to the EPA, the U.S. generated approximately 262.4 million tons of municipal waste in 2015, and of that amount, 137.7 million tons ended up in landfills. A staggering 91 percent of the plastic we produce isn’t recycled, and of the nearly one million plastic water bottles produced every minute, only about half will be recycled.

If you are like me, it’s always easier to see a pic about it.

This whale is made out of the same amount of plastic that gets dumped into our oceans every second.

Why should you care?

Because this is wreaking havoc on o u r environment. The trash in landfills is polluting our land, oceans, and waterways.

Most of the plastic comes in the form of disposable convenience items like plastic shopping bags, water bottles, coffee pods, and disposable straws and utensils. And since plastic takes around 400 years to degrade, it isn’t going to go away anytime soon.

Plastic trash also leaches poisons into the environment and causes devastating harm to fish, birds, and marine animals who ingest plastic pieces or become entangled in plastic bags, plastic sheeting, and other trash.

Perhaps the most eye-opening result of our trash problem is The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which contains over 8 million metric tons of trash, including everything from fishing nets to computer monitors.

Out of sight, out of mind is not a mindset that works when it comes to our trash. we need to seriously rethink our consumption habits.

Stop being a trash person with these easy steps;

  • Invest in a good water-filter instead of buying bottled water.
  • Purchase a few woven or canvas reusable bags to use on shopping trips. Always keep one with you, you never know what cute stores you might pass 😛
  • Bring reusable mesh or cotton bags to the store for produce and bulk dry goods.
  • Wash out your glass jars when empty and reuse them to store produce or flowers in.
  • Use glass or stainless-steel lunch containers instead of buying disposable plastic containers.
  • Keep a set of reusable silverware stashed in your desk drawer at work. Keep one in your purse too, because it ain’t fun to be hangry..
  • Think before you buy and avoid single-use plastic whenever possible.
  • Sign petitions and ask businesses to change to biodegradable or reusable straws, containers and bags.
  • Use a micro plastic catcher like The CoraBall when doing your laundry.

Cheer up little fighter, soon things will look brighter!

I know that it can seem impossible and overbearing, but together we can do it. Don’t beat yourself up when you make a mistake, just get on the horse and keep trying, growing, changing.


I know that you love this planet, she’s our home. Let’s take care of her the way she is taking care of us by providing us with everything we need.

PS: A reader gave me a tip about this page where you can find a lot more information about the subject. You can find that link here and thank you for the tip 🙂