Trash, Treasures and Climate Change


The official start to summer is only a few weeks way, yet here at ClimateMama we feel like New Years Eve was just yesterday…Time seems to pass too quickly but the rhythm of our kid lives keeps us on top of the seasons and moving forward. Spring brings baseball, lacrosse, school plays, final exams and graduations. It also reminds us to get ready for camp, summer vacations, beach time and picnics as well as just a more relaxed at home schedule. As summer approaches it is also a good opportunity for some “spring/summer” cleaning – garage sales seem to be popping up everywhere as do extra full trash cans – as many of us look to ‘declutter’ for the summer.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

We know that all our Climate Mamas and Papas are familiar with the adage: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. In the developed world we all generate a lot of trash and collect a lot of “stuff.” If we hope to get a handle on managing, adapting to and slowing down climate change, an easy place to start is by doing a better job of managing our waste.

We recently shared suggestions for reducing our “foodprint.” Here are a few facts and ideas about landfill waste and ways you and your family can reduce it. According to our friends at

1. The average person generates over 4 pounds of trash every day and about 1.5 tons of solid waste per year.
2. In 2009, Americans produced enough trash to circle the Earth 24 times.
3. Over 75% of waste is recyclable, but in the USA we only recycle about 30% of it.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

As it relates to climate change, landfill gas is the natural by-product of the decomposition of solid waste in landfills. This gas consists mostly of CO2 (carbon dioxide) and CH4 (methane) – two of the most potent forms of greenhouse gases, which in their human made state are the primary drivers of climate change. And according to the US Environmental Protection Agency, landfills are the third largest source of methane emissions in the United States.

Grab the kids in your life and ask them their suggestions for reducing waste at your home while keeping things you no longer want out of landfills. Remind them that one person’s trash is another person’s treasures.

Three ideas for you to share with your kids:

1. Music Magpie is a great company that we have recently been introduced to which helps people “declutter” while getting paid for it. Do you have trouble getting your kids to clean out their rooms and get rid of thing they no longer use? Tell them about Music Magpie and let them know there is “money to be made” in cleaning out their stuff! Clothes for cash. Cash for CD’s Games, and Electronics, definitely should get the attention of your teens and ‘tweens. With branches in the UK and the US, Music Magpie helps people on both sides of the Atlantic get rid of things like clothing, CDs, video games, DVDs and more. So “Music Magpie” today and keep usable stuff out of landfills, do your part to slow down climate change and get rewarded at the same time.

2. Do you Yerdle? Another great way to get rid of things you no longer want is to give them away to your “Friends!” Yerdle is a new tool that uses Facebook to help you give away items you no longer want but that friends, or friends of friends might be interested in having. Check out Yerdle today.

3. Garage Sales are certainly more “old school” then our first two suggestions, but we think there is something really fun about organizing your family to collect, tag and sell all those things you no longer want but someone else might “treasure.”

How does your family plan to reduce waste and slow down climate change this summer? Let us know!


Climate Mama

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