SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio continues to feel the impact of the pandemic, which now includes the rising amount of trash taken to our landfills that could be disposed of differently.
Josephine Valencia, deputy director of Solid Waste Management, said the amount of trash collected went up by about 13% during the pandemic.
“From 2019 to today, our population went up by about 3%. However, the amount of trash that we pick up went up by 9%. So the amount of trash that we are collecting is increasing higher than our population rate,” she said.
What’s in residential trash? More food waste, take-out containers, and some trash is being diverted from commercial to residential as people work from home.
“What we have found is that in the garbage can -- about 40% of what’s in the garbage can -- is some food waste or paper waste that could be composted,” Valencia said.
Items like greasy napkins, leftover chicken bones, or other food waste that is being thrown in the trash could be put in the green can and composed.
“Composting generates a lot less greenhouse gas than putting it in the landfill,” Valencia said. “We’re looking at probably about 50 years of landfill space in San Antonio.”
According to a scientific global study, more than 8 million metric tons of single-use pandemic plastic were thrown into the world’s oceans.
Additionally, researchers have found that the highest amount of plastic trash was generated from hospitals.
Valencia said it’s time for everyone to start thinking about how to stop waste.
“You know, really think about what you’re buying. Do you really do you really need to buy that?,” she said. “I’m not going to tell people stop buying water bottles or stop using paper plates. But I think the best thing you can do is make sure you dispose of them properly.”