Car tires are generally considered environmentally unfriendly because they are predominantly made from fossil fuels. Natural rubber is generally not used anymore; most tires are made from isoprene, which is chemically very like rubber but is produced by thermally breaking apart molecules in petroleum in a process called cracking. The isoprene is separated out and purified and then reacted to form the artificial rubber that is the major component in car tires. The tires eventually end up discarded in giant piles that represent one of our biggest waste disposal problems.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is the process in which water, chemicals and sand are injected at high pressure to split apart rock thousands of feet below Earth’s surface and release oil or natural gas. And it’s a controversial practice.
As the world’s population grows and becomes more urban and affluent, the amount of solid waste we produce grows and grows. Over the past century, the total amount has risen tenfold. By 2025, the world-wide total is expected to double again. The average person in the United States throws away their body weight in garbage every month.
Estimates are that as much as 40% of produce in America is wasted. We throw out fruits and vegetables for a variety of reasons, but one of the most unfortunate is when produce is tossed simply because it doesn’t look good enough. Misshapen tomatoes, lumpy carrots, double-lobed potatoes, and crooked cucumbers end up in the waste bin instead of on our plates.