The beauty in some parts of Haiti can hide behind the mounds of trash that line the streets. When I arrived in Port au Prince, I saw the most trash I have ever seen in one city. I immediately thought, ‘Wow, Port-au-Prince has a trash problem,’ but the more I let it roll around in my mind, I began to think about my own country and its waste. Surely we create just as much, if not more trash than Haiti. Just because it does not all live in our streets does not mean it is disappearing. So I did a little research as to what the US ultimately does with their trash. It is common knowledge that a good amount of trash goes into landfills, but what about the rest of it? According to Onearth.org, “In 2012, scrap was the nation’s No. 2 export to China.” The USA loads 50 to 75 percent of the recyclable material from curbside pickup onto ships and sells it to other countries. Most countries will not make a fuss if each bail of ‘recyclable materials’ that we sell them is comprised of about 40 percent non-recyclable materials. Even though every piece of non-recyclable trash that we sell to them costs them money, we take full advantage of this sneaky trade. Other countries are literally buying our problems at a cost to themselves. This means that the USA has both physical and political garbage issues. Just because Haiti’s trash issues are easily visible, does not mean Haiti is less responsible, or more wasteful than the USA; it just means the USA is better at putting trash out of sight and out of mind. Haiti was an enlightening trip because it not only expanded my world views, but also it provoked thoughts and questions about my own country.
I have a few other thoughts on politics, gay rights, and restaurant service, but I’ll save them for later.
Royte, Elizabeth. "China's Too Good for Our Trash. Yay? | OnEarth Magazine." China's Too Good for Our Trash. Yay? | OnEarth Magazine. Onearth, 23 Oct.
2013. Web. 23 Dec. 2013.