Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Trash Build Up
Name: Szczescie
Status: Other
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A 

How long do you think it will be before we start living in our own trash?

I think what you have in mind is that trash will be piled up so deep we would have to wade around in it in the streets. That will not happen because people will not tolerate it. I am reminded of a few stories from New York City, when the garbage haulers went on strike for higher pay the trash actually did pile up pretty deep in the streets until the city gave them what they wanted. Another time, a big barge was loaded with garbage and taken out to sea. It is no longer legal to dump trash in the ocean, so the barge had to find a country willing to accept the garbage for a small fee, but no one would take it so the barge had to take all the trash back to New York. Stories like these help bring the problem of solid-waste disposal to the public's attention: we can no longer find places to dump trash as easily as we once did. So, new ideas are coming along to help solve the problem. Some producers are using less packaging material, some states are adopting bottle return bills, and some cities are recycling trash into new goods. One way to use recycled paper and plastic is to insulate homes with it. Maybe if more people insulated their homes with recycled plastics we will be "living in our trash" sooner than you think.

Don Libby

Click here to return to the Environmental Science

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (, or at Argonne's Educational Programs

Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory