It’s certainly not the most glamorous of topics I’ve written about but I felt compelled to share my visit to a garbage dump and the grim reality of where does our trash go. A few weeks back I visited a garbage dump here in the Dominican Republic. It was a totally surreal experience and difficult to encapsulate into words but here goes …
Ok, so let me set the scene. We drove up a long and windy road surrounded by breathtaking Dominican landscape. As we reached the top, the road flattened off and there was a smokey, fly-filled trash city for miles. In the distance, you could see the breathtaking mountains, glistening turquoise ocean and endless rows of tropical palms. It was a pretty jaw-dropping contrast with the indescribable beauty of Mother Nature compared to the repulsive sight of what us humans are doing to our planet. Now don’t get me wrong, I never expected the garbage dump to be a playground with a few plastic bags laying around but I was totally overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of trash. It also got me thinking about how most of us take the trash out, the next day it’s gone and we never give a passing thought about where it’s gone. But there is no ‘gone’. It never just ‘gone’.
On a positive note, I was incredibly impressed to notice piles and piles of plastic bottles separated in large bags ready to be sold to recycling plants. On the drive back down I noticed more areas where people had separated out the cardboard, metal, glass and even broken garden furniture.
I didn’t write this post to discredit or slander this garbage dump or the Dominican Republic. The dump could have been anywhere in the world and the quantity of garbage would still be overwhelming, but it really did open my eyes to how much unnecessary trash we produce and how it is polluting our beautiful planet.
Here are a few of my top tips for reducing waste:
- Get yourself a reusable drinking bottle. I never leave home without mine. I use Yeti and Corkcicle flasks but Hydro Flask and S’Well also work the same! These brands all offer stainless steel canteens that keep the contents hot or cold for hours, so you won’t need to purchase anything in a plastic bottle.
- Say no to single-use plastics. We can really live without plastic straws, to go cups, plastic bags and to go food boxes. I personally keep a Tupperware box in my car when I eat out so I can get food to go or take home leftovers. I also keep a foldaway shopping bag in my purse because you never know when you need it!
- Ladies, you can make your time of the month totally waste-free by changing to a menstrual cup. It’s 0 waste and actually healthier for you than the disposable alternatives. If you want to learn more, I laid out all of the facts and figure in my why you should change to a menstrual cup article.