Yes, this is the outside face of a landfill. Puente Hills

So today I'm taking a break from the 'pretty' and talking about the Important (notice, capital 'I'!!). I read this really interesting article about where our trash goes after we dispose of it and the ramifications of our trash-based society (oh, thats a broad statement in so many ways!). In the May 2008 issue of GQ was an important article entitled 'This is paradise' about one of the largest trash dumps in the country in CA, Puente Hills.
The inside face of Puente Hills after a day's work has been covered with 12" of dirt

The process is incredibly complex and sophisticated. There are trash engineers out there who are passionate about their craft and are interested in the entire cycle of life and how our trash fits into that. These are SMART guys - at one point in the article someone mentions how our politicians should be coming from trash engineering (that would probably be an improvement)! All the gasses and juices released from the landfills (eww!) are being turned into electricity at these more sophisticated sites. The circle of life is continued.
the 5 steps of trash

I won't transcribe the entire article here (but it's definitely worth a read and i've linked to it below) but I think the important issue here is that every single thing that you get rid of without thought, takes many many people to get 'put away' and a lot of energy and SPACE. But the thing is - it NEVER goes away. It's there forever. So much of this waste can be recycled or more efficiently even, reused! So next time you throw something away, think twice. Can it be donated, recycled, resused in another way? And next time you're at the store, do you need a bag? Can you carry it or resuse a bag? Do you really need to put a plastic bag around those apples at the store? Do you need that twisty tie; and if you do can you reuse it later?
Here is 'Big Mike' -one of the characters interviewed in the article. A day's worth of trash at this ONE site is so enormous, you can't even imagine. Waste, Waste, Waste!

Read the entire article online HERE. I also have scanned the article into a pdf, please email me if you would like a copy of it.