Reducing Your Environmental Footprint: How To Reuse, Recycle, Repurpose

The ultimate goal is to reuse, recycle, and repurpose. And if none of those fit the bill, then throw it away.

Video Transcript

- Filling up in the landfill. In our series Eye on Earth, meteorologist Anne Elise Parks tonight showing us around an Arlington landfill and highlights what waste should actually not end up in their.

ANNE ELISE PARKS: Here at this City of Arlington landfill, trucks are working around the clock managing trash, packing landfills like this one and across the country with over 100 million tons of waste each year. Dave Hildreth with Republic Services says sometimes people add contaminants to these landfills by throwing away items that don't belong here.

DAVE HILDRETH: You know, things like paint, or oil, or any liquid shouldn't come to a landfill at all. Other materials, batteries, tires, those kind of things, they shouldn't come to a landfill.

SUNANDA KATRAGAEDA: The City of Arlington specifically has an agreement with the Fort Worth Environmental Collection Center where Arlington residents can go and drop off these items for free.

ANNE ELISE PARKS: This City of Arlington environmental administrator says they've seen trash with pool cleaners, medical waste, and even fluorescent light bulbs, which she says hurts not only the environment, but--

SUNANDA KATRAGAEDA: It can definitely pose a health risk for our waste collections workers as well as for the vehicles.

ANNE ELISE PARKS: The success of local landfills, like this one, depend largely on you and me, the consumer. We must know what should and shouldn't end up in the landfill.

Hildreth says that the landfill process is more than just trash. People can drop off concrete, wood, and yard brush separately. Landfills have programs to ensure that these items don't go to waste.

DAVE HILDRETH: But we pull about a half a million tons a year of concrete out of the waste stream and repurpose it as gravel. We pull close to 100,000 tons a year of yard waste, and brush, and leaves, and that out of the waste stream and repurpose it for mulch or compost.

ANNE ELISE PARKS: The goal is to reuse, recycle, and repurpose. And if none of those fit the bill, throw it away.

DAVE HILDRETH: That's how we reduce the amount of trash that goes into landfills, it's how you make it last longer, how you make a more sustainable solid waste plan for the whole community.

ANNE ELISE PARKS: Anne Elise Parks, CBS11 News.

- Hildreth, by the way, also says that we're always going to be dependent on landfills as part of our waste stream, can't get around that, but we can all do our part by not contaminating the landfill with those items that can be recycled or properly disposed. Please check your city recycling and trash program if you need specific ways to dispose of hazardous waste. They do make it fairly easy for all of us nowadays.