We can throw our waste in bottomless bins…
We can turn our rosy cheeks…
But our bottomless bins are spilling over…
Band-aids cant patch a gushing artery…
SO political masquerade wont collage growing mounds of trash.
Did you step over trash at least once today?
Growing up in my household, sweet treats were earned with aluminum cans. I was maybe five years old — a grocery bag in one hand and my mother’s hand in the other. Wondering through the public lands behind my house, I collected old soda and beers cans to exchange for coins at the local scrapyard. With the change my siblings and I earned we could choose a tasty treat from the market.
Peoples’ stories, their material-lives, litter my backyard. To this day, beer cans, broken refrigerators, stained couches and degraded plastic toys freckle the public lands behind my parents house. Building forts from old bed-springs and the cabs of rusting trucks, my playground was the junk of others. As a child, this was a wonderland — As an adult this is truly disturbing…
Playing in trash will teach you a few things:
*Society has a filter to dismiss the trash we live alongside everyday. By choice, we live alongside this trash. Did you see the plastic bag snared in barbed wire along the highway? It is everywhere. Check out my post Sandy Butts: A Breakdown of Cigarette Litter.
*Old things last a lot longer than new! Plastics fueled the throwaway revolution… Replacing old long lasting materials, plastic is expendable, cheap, and has innumerous applications. The same properties that make plastic popular, make the disposal of plastic difficult. Only a fraction of plastic is recycled. In 2014, only 9.5% of plastic that could be recycled was recycled in the US (EPA). Most plastics end up in landfills, backyards, and oceans.
*Litter looks unhealthy because it is. Plastics degrade, and remain as microplastics in our soil and in our water. It is estimated that between 93,000 and 236,000 tonnes of micro plastic currently float in the ocean [Sebille]. And an additional 4.8 to 12.7 million metric tonnes of macro plastics enter and begin to degrade in the ocean each year [Jambeck].
*Nothing is trash… waste is an ideology.
Hours of playing in litter, I could imagine a broke-down car into a castle, but I could not make it disappear. I did not have a filter as a five year old. And I do not have a filter now. I see trash everywhere. I pick up trash from the street during my routine walk from the metro to my house everyday. Everyday, I count my footprint sitting in the basin of my trashbin. Every bottle, every napkin, every plastic bag and fork.
Simply recycling plastic is not enough because recycling plastic is costly and only works for a fraction of plastics produced and used commercially. But, throwing plastic away is not the solution either… Articles like the following infuriate me!
These articles are highly misleading. Plastic is never better in the garbage!! ever!! There is a better solution, no plastics, until all plastics are 100% recyclable. And to clarify, it is worth recycling the plastics you use; sort the plastics you can and only dispose those that you must. See Fruit for Thought: Simple tips to Reduce Plastic Waste.
During my journey to remove palm oil, nonessential chemicals, excessive plastics, and disposables from my life, I discovered a movement known as ZeroWaste.
It is exactly what it sounds like. Living ZeroWaste is a principle of understanding the inherent value of everything we use to reform our ideology about disposal. In living ZeroWaste, we can embrace simplicity ultimately decreasing consumption and eliminating waste from our vocabulary.
Waste is only an idea. Anything can be waste, and anything can be a resource. A shift in mentality is necessary to lift society out of this “use and trash” mentality. Our trash is only a symptom, of a much greater issue. Addressing only the symptoms of societies consumption will never change the the root of the problem. To effectively shift this mentality changes must be made on three frontiers: consumer habits, business ethics, and big policy reform.
Consumer habits and small-business ethics will ultimately reform society. If consumers use only low impact products, and businesses only supply from ethical vendors, they effectively force big industry to embrace higher standards. Industry drives our “throwaway mentality” with expiration dates. Expiration drives a profit market of “more is better” and “cheaper is necessary”. This drive for profit has pushed society away from the “use and maintenance” of resources. As thing begin to wear out or we lose interest our nature is to throw these “things” in the bin. But our bins are not bottomless, they are spilling over…
As an adult, I don’t get a tasty treat for picking up trash on the street and cigarettes at the beach. I get a satisfaction of knowing that I am making a difference. But this problem is bigger than me. Society needs to make changes. We, consumers, need to make changes. I do not want to just throw things in the bin anymore. In fact, I want to eliminate any urge I have to throw waste in a bin.
There is a wide spread numbness we have afflicted ourselves to ignore the real and ever growing issues in our consumption. To preach about consumption, I must become the person I expect to see in the world. The person I believe is necessary to face the growing climate and resource crisis. And in the face of accelerating climate change, I want to fight for our privileges. I am making this blog to become accountable for my beliefs.
Embracing my philosophy, I have begun to educate myself with the intention of living ZeroWaste in the next three years. In future articles, I will address how I alter my personal habits in order to embrace a ZeroWaste lifestyle.
Thank you lovely for reading my articles. I hope that during my journey, I can inspire a shift in societal habits through positive energy. As always reach out to me if you have any comments or suggestions or you want company in a journey for a lower environmental impact. Here we can work in good company for a life of simplicity and a life without a trashbin. As with every post and every week have a beautiful day. 🌻