February 2011


An Information Source for Reducing/Reusing/Recycling & Beyond

Have you been with friends or at a party and the once-lively conversation seems to slow down and experience a lull? Here is some “trash trivia’ that just might get the dialogue moving along again. You might even test your “garbage knowledge” and see if you know some of these trash facts.

* As Americans, we are at the top of the ‘ol garbage pile, so to speak.The average American generates 4.62 pounds of garbage every day vs. Sweden with a mere 2 pounds per day.Oregonians are no exception.We produce 5.3 million tons of refuse every year.

*Around 500 B.C Athens, Greece issued a first-known law about not dumping garbage in the streets.Garbage was then hauled to rural areas where it became necessary to develop a more-controlled and organized site.Hence, the “invention” of the first municipal garbage dump; or as we like to call them ‘waste disposal sites.’

*Guess what comprises the largest percentage of material in an average landfill?Plastic? Paper? Glass?

Many folks think that plastic tops the list but contrary to popular belief, plastic only contributes 7% whereas paper comes up #1 with a whopping 37% !

*To make an aluminum can from recycled material take 92% less energy than by using virgin material.

*Jackson County was at 37% recovery of waste and in 2010 achieved 43% recovery – exceeding the set goal of 40% for 2009!This involved practices of waste prevention, smart shopping, reducing/reusing and recycling.

*Statistics for 2006 show that Jackson County alone recycled enough paper to save almost 500,000 trees!

* Did you know that curbside collection is required in Oregon for communities with a population of 4,000 or more?

*At present, in the US almost 60% of all newspaper is recovered, with about 15% containing recycled fiber.The Oregonian outdoes the US average with 57% of the Oregonian’s newspaper having 44% recycled content.

*Most of the recycled glass collected in Jackson County stays right here.It is crushed and used in DEQ-approved projects such as roadbeds, back-fill or drainage material in place of sand or gravel.It not only keeps recycled glass here at home but saves money in transportation costs.

* Here are some alternatives to chemical products used around the home, which helps reduce toxins in our environment and keep our air (and lungs) much cleaner:

Drain Cleaner-
Physical Alternative: A Plunger or Mechanical Snake
Less Toxic Alternative : Put Baking Soda Down Drain/ Add Vinegar/Let Bubble/Flush
with Boiling Water

Mildew Remover –
Physical Alternative: Use a Stiff Brush
Less Toxic Alternative : Vinegar & Salt Scrub

Tile Cleaner –
Physical Alternative : Tooth Brush
Less Toxic Alternative: Scrub with a Baking Soda & Vinegar Paste

Rust Remover –
Physical Alternative: Steel Wool
Less Toxic Alternative: Lemon Juice & Cream of Tartar / Scrub with Brush

Vinyl Cleaner-
Physical Alternative: Damp Mop
Less Toxic Alternative: Vinegar & Water Solution

This is just a sprinkling of conversation starters of “trash trivia.” Share this information with your friends and you might just encourage them to reduce/reuse/recycle and re-think their choices and practices.

Enough “trash talk” until next month.
Carla DiFabion,
Master Recycler