Excess waste leads to destruction of planet: how we can help


Art by Owen Kelly

As humans, producing garbage has become almost second nature to us. Once we throw something out, we completely forget about it and ignore how it affects others. The average American produces over 1,700 pounds of garbage every year. According to globalcitizen.org, this alarming number is three times high compared to the global average amount of waste produced. Due to COVID, people in the whole world, especially in the US, are producing more waste. From disposable masks to endless cleaning products, the COVID pandemic has taken its toll on the environment and waste systems.
At Saint Viator, students and teachers take the precaution of cleaning desks with paper towels after every class and lunch period. This means that hundreds of paper towels are being thrown away, not recycled, every day. Even if we had recycling bins, paper towels that have been used to clean up bleach or chemicals cannot be recycled. A simple solution to this form of waste would be sharing paper towels with classmates and being sure to only use one per lunch table.
According to sciencedaily.com, about 3 million face masks are thrown away every minute. Unfortunately, many of these masks end up in oceans, release dangerous substances, and are terminal for sea creatures. We can reduce this waste by using cotton or reusable masks that can be washed. For those who prefer wearing disposable masks, it is recommended to tear the ear loop off of the fabric part of the mask. The ear loop gets easily tangled around animals and can lead to their death. Making this part of your daily routine is so simple yet can greatly affect the environment in positive ways.
It is important to be aware that laziness about waste products has detrimental effects on others and the environment. Being conscious about how many unnecessary non-recyclable products are used and how many recyclable products are simply thrown out is the first step in changing the issue of high amounts of waste that the world has today.