Can we launch our garbage into space? Globally, people produce about 1.3 billion tons of waste every year. This garbage is accumulating on Earth and bringing harm to both people and the environment. So, why don’t we just send all this waste off to burn up in the Sun? And are there any other ways to get rid of all the trash?
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How much trash we produce 0:13
Why we can’t launch it all into space 1:42
The space garbage problem 2:24
What could happen if something went wrong 3:34
How much it would cost 4:25
Innovative ways to get rid of all the trash 5:34
Building blocks made of trash 5:42
Recycling garbage 6:17
Recruiting plastic-eating bacteria 8:24
Music by Epidemic Sound
– If you loaded just a year’s-worth of the world’s waste on trucks and lined them all up bumper to bumper, this line would wrap the planet 24 times.
– In general, people throw away 99% of all the things they’ve bought within 6 months of purchasing them. Right now, we’d need 1.7 earths to get enough resources to support normal life and to store all the waste.
– If something went wrong, all this waste would end up in our planet’s outer atmosphere. And there’s already enough trash floating around Earth thanks to all the space missions that have been launched by different countries.
– The trash can hit astronauts while they’re out on a spacewalk, or it could punch holes in the sides of the station. The trash that’s up there now has already damaged several satellites.
– For instance, just one damaged GPS satellite could disrupt the work of different banking and financial organizations, it’d mess up air travel, and even the GPS on your phone or in your car would stop working!
– Even if the trash didn’t hit anything important on the surface and simply burned up in the atmosphere, it’d still pose a threat to both people and the environment.
– It costs about $90 million to launch a medium-sized rocket. Its maximum capacity is 70 tons of materials.
– Soon, we might see machines based on industrial waste-compaction devices. But unlike the already existing ones that crush stuff into cubes, these giant trash compactors could create special “puzzle blocks” that would be used later in construction.
– Sweden is known for its diligent recycling practices. In one way or another, they recycle almost 99% of household waste.
– The Swedes have managed to decrease heavy metal emissions by a staggering 99% in comparison with 1985. At the same time, the amount of incinerated garbage has tripled. Half of all household waste from all over the country is burnt at these plants.
– Scientists are working on creating an artificially engineered plastic-eating enzyme that they could put in massive industrial reactors. This substance would break plastic down into its building-block components very fast.
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