If your habits resemble those of average Americans, you
generate about 4.6 pounds of solid trash per day. This adds
up to big trouble for the environment. Americans are generating
waste products faster than nature can break them down and
using up resources faster than they can be replaced.
How can we find ways to meet our current economic and social
needs without compromising the ability of our children,
and our children's children, to do the same? Our success
will depend on understanding the difference between
- Sustainable practices: practices that provide ongoing
economic and social benefits without degrading the environment.
- Unsustainable practices: "quick fixes" that
fill an immediate need for resources. Over time, however,
these practices deplete or damage natural resources so
they cannot be used or enjoyed by future generations.
In this exhibit, you can find out how to improve next year's
environmental record. You'll learn how waste is handled
now and how some communities are doing it better. In the
activities, you can test your knowledge about hazardous
waste we generate in our homes and try to shrink a landfill.
Start by learning a few facts about solid waste.