VALPARAISO | The city has launched a "Think Before You Throw" campaign to encourage more recycling.
According to statistics released by the city, on average, each American throws away 4.6 pounds of trash a day, the most of any nation in the world. We use 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour. Worldwide, a trillion plastic shopping bags are used every minute. The bags break down but the toxins remain in the environment.
"We want to encourage people to think about all items we throw in the trash and, hopefully, reduce the amount of landfill-bound trash we generate by promoting reusable products and composting as well as recycling," said Ann Brugos, of the city's Public Works Department.
"We want our garbage trucks to be the last resort," she said.
The Think Before You Throw campaign wants people to consider the following things before tossing something in the trash:
- Is it harmful to the environment? Medicines, batteries, smoke alarms and many household chemicals can be hazardous if not disposed of properly. The next household hazardous waste collection day is 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 18 at the Porter County Expo Center.
- Fluorescent bulbs should never go in the trash. The bulbs can be taken to the city's public works yard at 406 Don Hovey Drive, the city's compost site, 2150 W. Lincolnway, or Home Depot, 2430 LaPorte Ave., for proper disposal.
- Buy products with less packaging. Instead of single-serving portioned foods, buy larger quantities and put leftovers in reusable containers for later.
- Try composting. The average American throws away 1,200 pounds of organic garbage (from food scraps to yard waste) each year that can be composted instead.
- In addition to recycling more, think about whether items can be repaired, reused, repurposed or donated.
Remember: the planet you save might be your own.