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It is no surprise that Americans produce a lot of trash. Every year we hope that recycling numbers are on the rise, and in some cities they are, but then we hear about cities that fall far short of making a difference – I am talking to you Sioux City.
If you do not know much about Siouxland, it is in western Iowa, has a population of around 85,000 people, and has failed at recycling. In a recent article it states that 95 percent of all trash generated in this town ended up in the landfill. Each person is responsible for adding more than 737 pounds of garbage to their ever-growing pile. While there is plenty of open land near this city, at what point in time does our farm land and open prairies become a never ending series of rolling hills that are filled with trash?
Los Angeles has a stigma of a city of excess, where fame and fortune is made – they also have a program that works, not just for today, but for the long haul. L.A. is part of a program that will eventually, and hopefully, roll out nationwide in the near future, that pays consumers “points” based on the amount that they recycle. The more they recycle the points they can earn through RecycleBank. Points can be redeemed at local and national retailers.
This is an interesting concept as those in Los Angeles already divert 65 percent of waste from landfills. With this program they are striving to hit 70 percent by 2013, but they do not plan on stopping there – the ultimate goal is to become a city with zero waste.
We can all make a difference in the future of our environment, but we have to put forth an effort – taking a few seconds a day to fill the recycling bin, teaching our children about the benefits of recycling, driving recyclables to a community site or taking stock on how much garbage we produce and identifying how we can lessen our mark on this world. Some of us only require some minor changes to our lifestyle, but for some cities a complete overhaul is needed and needed quickly. I am still talking to you Sioux City…