There are many issues regarding sustainability. Two issues, in particular, are climate change and the wasting of trash. Climate change refers to the patterns of weather in different regions of the world. There are many effects of climate change, including global warming and the costs to humans. If the global temperature is raised to 2.5ºC to 3ºC, then 20% to 30% of species will possibly become extinct. Greater than 15% of ecosystems will be dramatically altered for the worst. Twenty percent to eighty percent of the Amazon rainforest will also be gone.
Climate change can affect humans too. A 2ºC rise in the global temperature can result in flooding, famines, and war. Also, crippling roadways, sewers, and irrigation systems will be destroyed. In addition, people will have to fight with each other for scarce resources.
Another issue associated with sustainability is the wasting of trash. Some of the issues with wasting trash are that it gets dumped into landfills and too much MSW (municipal solid waste) is released which makes it very difficult to get rid of all of it in an environmentally friendly way.
However, relying only on landfills to get rid of all waste is a huge disadvantage. Landfills can easily become overfilled. When some landfills are reconstructed into playgrounds and golf courses, deep holes are found on the ground. When landfills become overfilled, then any remaining remnants can seep into the groundwater.
Fortunately, the issue of waste can be addressed in several ways. One solution to the waste dilemma is source reduction, which is the reduction of waste at its source.
This involves designing, manufacturing, purchasing, or using materials to prevent as much possible the amount of trash that is wasted. Some other examples of source reduction include decreasing the amount of paper used and wasted by using electronic communication, data transfer, and the internet. Another example includes reusing goods by selling them on websites such as eBay, Craigslist, and Freecycle Network. Waste can also be reduced by refusing to subscribe to bulk mailing lists. Plus, waste can be reduced by recycling items that can be reused.
To ensure that this solution to waste is addressed, progress is monitored by measuring consumer spending. This method helps to figure out which goods and products people throw away as trash. As a result, this method prevented 55 million tons of waste from being dumped into the waste stream in 2000. Because consumers are more aware of the issue of waste, they are encouraged to recycle items that can be reused. About 50% and 87.2 million tons of MSW were recycled by consumers in 2013 compared to only 5.6 million tons at approximately 3% in 1960.