You may not consider the effects of waste because once you throw something away, you never see it again. The reality is, once waste is created it never really goes away. Throwing waste in the garbage can is only the first step in the expensive and lengthy waste disposal process. Once waste is buried in a landfill, it can sit indefinitely because without air and sunlight, decomposition is difficult. Some waste may be burned, leaving behind ashes and pollutants that affect air quality.

As our population continues to grow, our landfills are becoming overtaxed. Seeking new locations for landfills is difficult because of the environmental impacts of waste sites. Reducing the amount of waste we generate and taking care to recycle will lengthen the lifespan of our existing landfills. 

Explore the categories below to learn about ways you can reduce waste and recycle individually and in your neighborhood. You can also learn about regional issues, policies and regulations, and about agencies and organizations working on waste reduction and recycling.

Individual ActionsNeightborhood CollaborationRegional IssuesBigger Picture