Waste is an invisible (or willfully ignored) part of modern life. I write that sentence a lot. It shows up in a lot of my articles. What I mean to say is, think about your waste, even if all you manage to plan for is “eww! gross! I’m just going to throw it out the window.” then at least you know what to expect. For the record, just throw it out the window is a very bad plan. So what does one need to become waste independent? First we need to understand that waste comes in three different basic forms. Solid waste, liquid waste and gaseous waste. In this article I will focus on solid waste.
Solid waste is commonly known as garbage. Garbage is an issue. Whether it is an end of the world scenario or a self-reliant initiative, garbage needs to be dealt with. If you don’t there will be no space left and an abundance of pests and diseases. This is an issue that faces every municipality on the planet. You shouldn’t just throw it in a hole, that will almost guarantee contamination of your ground water.
Garbage even affects operational security. Before the end of the world as we know it, we need to be careful what we put in the garbage. A lot of personal information exists in our garbage (even in recycling). A shredder or a fire (or both) should be used to destroy anything with personal information, like credit card bills and bank statements. But that isn’t the end of how garbage can betray you. Receipts and empty boxes make, it very easy for people to know what you have. If you follow someone’s spending closely enough you can get a very good idea of what is going on in their lives. How many trackers can identify and follow animals based on the manure? Human beings are easy to follow if they don’t remove their waste. Most people could be followed across the country by their trail of garbage left behind. Even if you are staying put an ever growing pile of garbage will advertise your presence to everyone.
The best solution for waste is to not make it in the first place. The reduce portion of the three R’s, isn’t that hard. It just takes some getting used to and some research. Smart purchasing with garbage in mind while preparing will reduce the garbage issue you will face later.
The next best thing you can do is to reuse the items. This can be a fun process to find alternative uses for what would otherwise be garbage. Here the best advice I can give is to practice now and look at items and try to find a new use for it. Ask other people what other uses they think are possible. On this point it is definitely true that two heads are better than one. Finally, you can recycle some items. Anything that is recyclable today can be recycled by you if you have the know how. Plastic and metal can be melted down and formed into something else. I won’t list how to recycle each item, there are two many and not all of them will be practical. Composting is a great way to reuse food scraps and other organic waste. Plus you get useful soil in the process.
There is always incineration for what’s left over. This technically converts the garbage into gaseous waste. The fumes can be very toxic depending on what you are burning. Check your local regulations as many places prohibit incineration of garbage. It might be something that has to wait until the wold as we know it ends. In general the higher your chimney/smokestack the farther the pollutants will travel away from you.
If you want to create your own landfill somewhere, make sure no water can pass through the garbage and contaminate the ground water. This isn’t as simple as laying down a tarp, proper landfills cost millions of dollars just to find suitable locations. They also need to be covered to prevent rodents and other vermin from invading. Covering also helps with the smell. They are definitely more work to maintain then it would appear. I recommend some other form of dealing with your garbage other than a landfill.
This has been an introduction into solid waste solutions. I hope I have convinced you to consider adding garbage management into your preparedness plan, and that I have helped you become a little more self-reliant.