The ugliest part of consumption is the waste byproduct.  Where does all that stuff go once the trash man takes it away?

Garbage dump truck at dump yard near sunflowers

This is about the nicest picture of a landfill I could find. Search images on the web for a clear snapshot if you’re curious.

This is a very inconvenient truth that most prefer to look away from, thinking maybe it will resolve itself.  The unfortunate part is that it won’t resolve itself.  But, through consumer activism and awareness along with social media, the veil of illusion in regards to consumerism and unsustainable corporate practices are being pierced and is revealing the dark side of mass production.  The silver lining is that we, the consumers, have a major opportunity to reset the standards of how businesses will run now and into the future.  There is more transparency available now more than ever in our documented history.  You may have to weed through a lot of information to get to the truth but those that seek will find.  Understanding basically what is going on with the increase in population, globalization and economic sustainability will help fuel the cause. Deciding what and how to do your part is the next step to a sustainable future.  Using your voice, your pen, and your purchasing power is the best thing you can do to contribute.  Making small shifts in your thinking gives you access to more options which allow for better decision making skills for yourself and the environment.  Its as easy as these steps: 1)Reduce (your consumption).  Think about the true necessity of the items you purchase. 2)Reuse (when possible). What items can you purchase that are gently used instead of brand new that will satisfy the same positive intention? 3)Recycle (when available) This includes composting organic material.  You’d be surprised how much you can deter from the landfill by doing these three simple steps.

Establishing, building and maintaining relationships with local businesses that are doing their part is another way to give back and keep a healthy economy for small businesses in the community.  Community gatherings like farmers markets and community gardens help introduce families to local organic edibles and more which is necessary in feeding the world and wellness overall.

When thinking of how a new home can negatively impact the environment its important to understand that the average construction of a house produces 4 pounds of trash per square foot.   This is a common practice but with a smarter planning phase and advanced building and framing techniques that number can be substantially reduced.  Consider these solutions to some of the waste problems in home construction.

  1. Design Planning appropriately can reduce 65% of all waste from building construction. Lifestyle and space planning can also reduce the amount of square footage a family really needs to live comfortably.
  2.  Reducing operating costs will increase mechanical productivity and use less energy and water.
  3. Improving the improved indoor air quality in homes will health the overall healthcare needs and issues.