By Karen Dougherty
According to the EPA, each American produces 1600 pounds of garbage per year. This is a staggering amount when you consider that this is just residential garbage and does not include industrial or commercial waste.
I believe that we should adopt the waste management system used in many European countries. Residents pay for any garbage that needs to be picked up but recycling is free. In Switzerland, which was recently named the "Greenest Country in the World" by the Yale and Columbia Environmental Performance Index, trash may only be discarded in specific garbage bags that residents must purchase. This system encourages residents to recycle everything they possibly can since these services are free. According to E: The Environmental Magazine, Swiss residents generate only 880 pounds of trash per year, roughly half of what Americans produce.
It is very disheartening on garbage day to look around my neighborhood and see the amount of trash that one little street in one little town generates. By recycling and composting, we can greatly reduce the amount of trash we generate and we have a responsibility to do so.