How Do We Solve Our Trash Problem?

In the US, over 50% of trash (that’s 1000 pounds per year, per American citizen) sits in landfills waiting to decompose…or not decompose. In this episode of Fw:Thinking, Jonathan Strickland explores the future of environmental science and some creative ideas that aim to solve our problems with pollution and waste management.

How would YOU solve the trash problem? We want to know! Share your ideas in the comments.


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41 thoughts on “How Do We Solve Our Trash Problem?

  1. i don't think plastic bags are super necessary.. but in the "rush" of the day, they may pile up… could we get more serious about "trash art" .. and then use that to passively educate ? .. because personally waste management videos are sometimes overwhelming and stressful when you watch them alone, lol.

  2. What do y'all think about large scale water incinerators?


    And we could just keep recycling the same water back to our incinerators…to get rid of the next load…and the next load

    I apparantly have been thinkin about this issue for at least a year…i commented a year ago…Water incinerator plants would also give ppl careers…probably much safer careers

    It would have to be a steam incinerator…with steam hot enough to vaporize the metals we won't use…which makes it easier to recycle bc then…we could just cool off the steam back into water form then reuse it for the next load

  3. Although I always see a strong connection between environmental issues and the so-called connectivity revolution 4.0, it is not so easy to find good examples on the Internet to show this.
    The video from 01:00 min to 01:40 min has a good example of the need for BIM, digital twin, IoT (IIoT to be exact), Smartgrid, Smart cities, etc, for a sanitation infrastructure project to Helsink city.

    The rest of the video also shows the innovation and cutting-edge technology needed to have a sustainable lifestyle for the next generations.

  4. Why can’t we create new jobs and pay people to sort all of the landfills or trash before the landfills and recycle and reuse all that we can. Use Ecobricks for soft plastics and build buildings and structures with them, start up more recycling for styrofoam, and bury anything that is just unable to be salvaged.

  5. BRILLIANT IDEAS!!! I definitely shared this video in hopes it will go viral if it hasn't already. See, there are smart people with solutions, so we have to ask ourselves, who is stopping these ideas from becoming a reality and why? I know that sounds "conspiratorial" but seriously, why isn't someone making ideas like this a done deal for our planet! This particular video was issued in 2013 and it's now almost 10 years later and still, NOTHING!!

  6. Hello YouTube. The world garbage problem I think is caused by a misunderstanding that Earth is our life support system rather than something we just keep taking resources from. I've researched the global waste problem and have found some internet articles/documentaries stating it's really bad and others saying the problem is being solved. Here's some ideas, some may be good others dumb, I'm no expert.
    1. Lasers- millions of degrees (example National Ignition Facility USA 10 Million degrees Celsius), could vaporize any waste type?
    2. Nuclear fusion reactors- also really hot, waste could be put in a metal box then put in a chamber above to equalize pressure and dropped into plasma (Tokamak type)
    3. Acids- some are really strong and can dissolve metals
    4. Underground nuclear/thermobaric/napalm weapon explosions (huge pits could be dug, filled, covered and bomb exploded)
    5. Volcanoes (put in metal container to sink before melting)
    6. Collision-Vaporization (Sandia Laboratory conducted a test where a plane was slammed into a concrete wall at 700 mph and vaporized on impact, maybe a cone-shaped container accelerated to high speeds could be vaporized along with waste contents?)
    7. Deep borehole disposal (Soviet Union dug Kola Superdeep Borehole, several miles depth, maybe more could be dug in remote areas?)
    8. Suborbital space container reentry vaporization- capsule (metal no heat shield) shot into suborbital trajectory via rocket could reenter atmosphere and be vaporized along with waste
    9. Lightning rods (lightning turns sand into glass), maybe waste piled around one could be vaporized?
    10. Capsule storage (landfill alternative until technologies get better- giant concrete/metal/plastic capsules could be used for storage and stacked, no leachate leaks like landfills?)
    11. Trash tanks- similar to oil terminals- big tanks where waste could decompose and leachate could be contained?
    12.'Macrowave' (like microwave only bigger- heat device used to fry waste?)
    13. Solar tower- sunlight used to fry waste (similar to solar tower energy), vaporizing it (or via satellite mirror for more heat)?
    14. Better landfills (meantime before better tech is developed)- metal/concrete/plastic/glass liners to avoid pollution from leachate?
    15. Nanomite consumption

    The global waste problem is solvable I think like most issues. It needs to be soon since our population is rising and making more waste. Some things like Zero-Waste Recycling, Trash-Energy systems and Plasma Gasification show promise. Also reducing global population along with our material-loving culture may help. Lets stop trashing the Earth.

  7. The answer is very simple and we could easily do it but its people that aren't. Most people nowadays do things only if it benefits them or maybe I'm wrong and they're just lost not knowing these kinds of problems exist or have no idea how to fix it

  8. Plastics, even the low grade ones that can't be recycled (such as the ones used in items such as plastic films, drinking straws and plastic cutlery) can actually be shredded and then melted to produce an alternative to bitumen for use in road surfacing.

    This means that less oil has to be extracted to obtain the bitumen, and the plastic isn't going into the oceans or being burnt.

  9. Even gasification has environmental issues. There's a gasification plant on the Isle of Wight, in England, and it's breached specified limits for dioxin emissions on a number of occasions.

  10. All plastic and trash should go to a shredder made into small pieces and put in colored or clear jars then be used instead of bricks to make earthships for the homeless. We will save the planet by putting our trash to good use. That goes for e waste and batteries as well. Put in the glass jars and build free housing for the poor. Free border walls free garden beds. I don't know why zero wasters are not paying attention to Mike Reynolds who came up with the solution 45 years ago. This is crazy.

  11. Adopting thorough system of recycling and sorting system, and government subsidy to all countries, and prohibition mixed waste disposal recyclable materials with non-recyclables is the solution

  12. Me and my friends are gonna start a ribble (meaning make a change) and pick up trash. I'm planning to get every state and country to pick up trash in their area and we can all save the earth! Now I'm only 11 yes but I believe we can do it in 2020 COME ON WHO'S WITH ME!

  13. I think it has to start with individuals. We can’t wait for the government to make changes/laws nor can we wait for scientists to come up with solutions. Yes that will help with the problem we’ve already created but we(individuals) have to be the first ones to take action. The first step is CONSUME LESS. Be mindful is what your purchasing. Think ahead of how the the packaging of what your buying will be disposed of. If consumers stop buying products packaged in plastic and demand biodegradable alternatives the seller will meet that need. It’s the supply and demand system that speaks louder than any government official. We can’t passively wait for the government to make changes.
    With that said I am constantly frustrated at the store trying to find and buy products not packaged in plastic. Sometimes it’s impossible to get around it. But if more and more people speak up about it or just stop buying products in plastic our voices can be heard. Using reusable bags is another great option. It takes some effort in the beginning to remember to take the bags but it soon becomes routine. These are only a few small things compared to a huge problem but a lot of small changes can add up to a huge difference.

    I really like this video btw! It is encouraging to learn that there is research and effort going into coming up with a solution for the mess we have in front of us. Finland is such an awesome country. I love that place. America could learn a lot from Finland!

  14. Can't we just put lava to the underground and put tubes to the underground to the land and put those tubes as large as a car and then can put plastic inside the tubes and then it goes into the lava and it incentigrades

  15. The solutions is to return the products that we don't use anymore or products that are broken to the companies where the products were produced, in that way the companies will recover important materials to be reused or recycled or use parts to make new product , in this way the companies will need to change the mentality about create product that not just end up in the landfills , it is time in Not just create products that only make money and that's it !

    -let's say a bottle of shampoo "trademark X" from the company "Y", it is empty now!, Instead to throw away the bottle into the trash container, better returned to the factory or company where it was produced. Then in this way the plastic bottle won't be wasted uselessly in a landfill.
    -let's say an automobile "trademark X" also once that it is not useful anymore, it should be returned back to the company where it was produced, they should know how to handle all the materials or parts from an expired automobile, they must to be able to recover material and other parts, in this way in the future they will need to produce automobiles with the mentality to reuse the material to build new automobiles.

    -and so on: clothes, furnitures, plastic bags, electro domestic, soda cans , toys , mobile phones , tires, computers, airplanes, space rockets, bikes, weapons, satellites ,etc….All the products that have been created and if they are not useful anymore or they have finished their utility purpose, they should be returned to the companies who create them, because companies are just creating the products with the vision to make profit without thinking what is going to happen to the product once it has cover its purpose…this is a miscalculation of the industrial revolution that is affecting our present and the future.

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