SPECIAL REPORT: The right way to throw away


We throw away 230 billion tons of garbage a year in this country. That's 4 and a half pounds of trash for every one of us, every day.

"So while you can throw it away, you don't have to," says Richmond County Environmental Services Director Lori Videtto.

A lot of our trash ends up here at the Richmond County landfill. But this should not be the final resting place for some of that refuse. A good bit of our old stuff can find new life.

"Everything from your old cell phones to your televisions, radios, microwaves, anything with a plug a cord or a battery can be recycled," Videtto says.

Same story in North Augusta where the city can take your old TV's and computers. They wrap them up, box them up, and haul them off from their recycling center.

Another issue when it comes to improper disposal? Tires. They're everywhere and they are a big pain.

"Tires are really tough for us," says Savannah Riverkeeper Tonya Bonitatibus. "We're prohibited from putting them in the landfill. So as we see them, we have to recycle them. The other part that you're seeing is a lot of people are illegally dumping them all over town. The Marshall's Office has really taken a big and strong stance on that. But they're hard to handle and they're hard to get rid of."

Even something as simple as kitchen grease can do a lot of harm.

"Every time that you pour that grease down the drain, it may be liquid when you pour it down because it's hot. But then it's going to solidify. It's going to turn into a solid in your drain. Not only is that going to cause your toilets to backflow, it will cause your neighbors as well."

Bonitatibus says all you have to do is pour the grease in a glass jar, screw the top on, then put it in the trash.

"And when you don't throw away the right way, you're not just causing a headache for the landfill and law enforcement, you're hurting the environment.

Paint can cause all sorts of problems.

"Unfortunately some people just pour it down their storm drains in front. That little hole in peoples' neighborhoods actually goes to a creek, not the sewage treatment facility," Bonitatibus says.

The solution? Put cat litter in the paint can until it solidifies.

"Oil is really scary. It will soak down directly into the groundwater if given the chance. It will run off. It makes that nice little sheen on top of the water."

"Every Jiffy Lube or oil recycling place or place you go to to change your oil, will take the stuff for free."

So the next time you take out the trash, take time to make sure you're doing it the right way. And remember the assistance that's available to help you lighten the load at the landfill, and protect our natural resources.

Give the Waste Wizard a try to find out where your garbage should go.



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