The Dump

English: Recyclables at transfer station near ...

English: Recyclables at transfer station near Gainesville, FL. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The dump, recycling center, transfer station, whatever it is called in your area, is a must visit!  In our town of 30,000, we don’t have trash or recycling pick up, so most people go to the dump. There they recycle newspapers, magazines, junk mail, cardboard, plastic containers, cans, glass bottles and jars, computer monitors, television sets and for a small fee, old appliances, yard debris, bulky metal, etc.  It’s almost a local gathering spot – politicians politic there and neighbors and friends greet each other.  It’s old fashioned and fun.

While this seems a little outdated, it occurs to me every time I go to the dump that everyone needs to experience sorting and throwing recyclables in the appropriate container.  The amount of recyclables in our town alone is shocking!  Multiply that by the number of towns and cities in the US and the world.  Think of all the areas of the country that don’t recycle. According to the Clean Air Council, “Every year, Americans throw away enough paper and plastic cups, forks, and spoons to circle the equator 300 times.”  “The average American office worker uses about 500 disposable cups every year.” “Every year, Americans use approximately 1 billion shopping bags, creating 300,000 tons of landfill waste.”   With the garbage produced in America alone, you could form a line of filled-up garbage trucks and reach the moon or cover the state of Texas two and a half times.  And shockingly, America is not the number one producer of garbage in the world!

Recycling is only part of the answer. What we need is a paradigm shift to focus on reducing consumption at home and in the workplace.  There is a lot we can do: buy fewer disposable products, avoid purchasing products with too much packaging, service appliances to keep them working efficiently, fix things instead of throwing them away, buy local, don’t give into impulse buying, go with quality not quantity, purchase biodegradable products, check out thrift and vintage shops and always use less energy and water.  Reducing consumption is crucial to a sustainable future.

Take your kids, your friends, your students, your coworkers on a field trip to a transfer station and get a tangible look at the amount of trash we dispose of.  It’s eye-opening!

Information compiled from,


6 responses to this post.

  1. We’ve recently moved to Westford MA from the UK and we were used to regular trips to our local dump to recycle things – – and it’s taking me a while to adjust to how things are done here. I’m used to sorting out a lot more and recycling a lot more too.


    • Thanks for commenting. I guess it varies from transfer station to transfer station, but here in Winchester, MA, you can recycle just about everything but plastic bags. I take those to Whole Foods. What is Westford’s transfer station like? Also, I’m curious how you found my blog. Thanks for reading and good luck with adjusting to life in America.



  2. Thanks Betsy! Your blog was posted on FaceBook by the Westford Recycling Commission (WRC) earlier on today. I may be totally wrong but I don’t think there is a public transfer station here in Westford which is part of the reason I’m finding the adjustment a bit odd. The trash is split into recycling and non-recycling with the recycling collected every other week.

    The WRC are also promoting composting which is super and we are going to buy one of their bins as we used to compost a lot back in the UK. Carrier bag use is down significantly at one of the local supermarkets and they also recycle their bags. I’m also doing a blog about our time here called Diary of a Wimpy Brit and am looking at doing a post about the differences and similarities in trash management. Regards, Claire


    • I’m thrilled the Westford Recycling Center reposted by blog! I’m surprised they don’t have a public transfer station. Have you called them about it?

      I like the sounds of your blog and look forward to reading it. It sounds like the UK is way ahead of us in the recycling area.

      Best of luck on your adjustment to the USA. I lived in France so I know how difficult it can be adapting to a new culture.

      Stay in touch –



  3. I’m not sure where you are getting your information, but great topic.
    I needs to spend some time learning more or
    understanding more. Thanks for fantastic info I was looking for this
    info for my mission.


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