What should we do with our trash?

What should we do with all the trash we generate? "Find new ways to recycle it" was the overwhelming response to the Kids' Environmental Report Card poll on trash.

On the Save the Planet message board , many kids wrote of new recycling programs launched by their schools. "And they (well at least my teachers) get mad at u if u throw paper away," one student confessed.

Some kids took the subject even further. "A way to save paper is to use BOTH sides before you recycle it," another message board poster wrote. "Just a small tip that can make a big difference."


Stepping Up Source Reduction

In 2006, people produced more than 251 million tons of trash. That's about 4.6 pounds of waste per person per day, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). No wonder the EPA is so enthusiastic about what it calls "source reduction" — practices such as recycling, backyard composting and two-sided copying that will lessen the amounts of trash going into our landfills and dumps. Today in the U.S., less than one third of all trash is recycled or composted.

Recycling, including composting, kept 82 million tons of material out of the nation's trash in 2006. That's an enormous improvement from the 15 million tons recycled in 1980. Even so, we can all be better at source reduction.

This week, let's all take time to "talk trash."