No Impact Week, Day Two (Mon Jan 3, 2011): TRASH
1. Empty out the items from the bag of trash I collected yesterday.
2. Sort the contents into two piles:
a. Stuff I used for less than ten minutes
b. Stuff I used for more than ten minutes
3. Put together a no-trash travel kit for the week with a reusable drinking receptacle for hot and cold liquids (DONE), a handkerchief/old t-shirt (GOT’ EM), Tupperware® (ALREADY KEEP SOME IN MY CAR), utensils (GOOD IDEA), and reusable produce bags (DONE).
4. Stop making trash. Reduce it. Reuse it. Refuse it in the first place. Recycle it. Just don’t throw it away. Keep a special bag at home or the office to collect trash you make by mistake or necessity throughout the week.
OK. Yesterday’s Garbage: <Insert Big Intake of Breath HERE>
“On the LEFT, weighing in at Less-Than-Ten-Minutes…”
- One Starbucks Cookie Bag
- Two wax paper backings to the two “In Case of Emergency, Please Rescue Our Pets” stickers I bought at Crown Hill Pet Store two weeks ago
- Packet from last night’s Efferdent denture cleaner for my night mouth guard (I grind my teeth)
- 2 packs of Splenda
- 1 Athenos Feta Cheese package
- 1 UPW (“Unidentified Plastic Wrapping” – really scary, because if I bought it just yesterday and can’t ID it, was it that important to begin with?)
- A ball of used Kleenex
- 2 SUPER PAGES phone books left on my stairs that I did NOTASK FOR, nor EVER want, yet they show up every year (they go straight into the recycling)
- The flimsy half-ripped plastic bag the phone books came in
“On the RIGHT, weighing in at +10 minutes of usage…”
- 1 Empty Clausen Dill Pickle Jar (Been working my way through the pickles for about two weeks)
- 1 Small Godiva Chocolate Beads (ditto)
- 1 Applegate Farms Smoked Sliced Turkey Bag (been eating out of that for a few days)
GROSS!! I feel disgusting, dirty and hopeless. I despair at all the hours spent each week simply managing all this junk. Why does modern society have this penchant for over- packaging EVERYTHING in the name of some sainted God of Sanitation?
We package all our foods so severely in the name of it staying sterile or at least ecoli-free, yet that packaging, used for less than 10 minutes, winds up choking the cleanliness out of the dirt it’s buried in, choking wild life, being accidentally swallowed by small children, etc.
Enter Jason, my Sweetie of Five Years:
“So, this is about time used, not whether or not it’s recyclable, right?”
“Right”, says I.
”Hmnn…”, ponders Jason, thumb stroking his chin thoughtfully, “so *that* means if you took two packages of Splenda, opened them, used half the contents on your first cup of coffee, waited 10 minutes, then used the second half on your second cup of coffee, you could move the Splenda packets over to the right side of the picture?”
Sigh. Did I mention that Jason is a software engineer?
“Yeah, yeah, I know, we engineers are always trying to game the system,” chuckles Jason.
The fact is that neither of us like the messy little Splenda packets. The other thing that drives us nuts are those little annoying jam packets. Not only are they litter, but they *stick* to everything. At least the Splenda leavings just dust the table…
…BUT I DIGRESS.
Why do I make so much garbage? Some environmentalist I’ve turned out to be!
It’s great that I keep cutting my CO2 footprint down (new furnace, less flying, solar hot water heater, electric car, better basement insulation), but what good will *that* be if I am still left choking and drowning in all this plastic crap?
Oh, and you DID know that plastics are made from PETROLEUM, right?
Today’s exercise in garbage analysis is just the thing I needed to get my head out of the sand about my own, still over-blown consumption. I really DON’T need all this stuff. And I CAN bring my own containers to the stores, restaurant, etc. (I’ve actually done it on and off over the years, but it’s just too easy to get lazy.)
WISH ME LUCK!!!