Archive for the ‘Responsible Living’ Category

Trash In, Trash Out

Did you know that there is a trash dump the size of Texas in the Pacific Ocean?  That’s right, it’s called The Great Pacific Garbage Patch.  It’s located in the North Pacific Gyre, and an estimated 80% of the trash comes from land.  THAT is crazy.  The thought usually doesn’t even cross our minds that trash IS an issue.  Perhaps we should NOT be producing mountains and mountains of waste and burying it, or letting it ride the ocean current to the garbage patch.  Perhaps a few hundred years of that kind of living will produce an earth that is kind of like walking around in a… garbage dump.  I’m not sure that’s how God would like for His beautiful creation to be taken care of.  In fact, I’m pretty sure He would not want us to create such ugly things as Texas sized marine garbage dumps, oceans full of waste, and precious soil packed full of nasty trash.  So how about it.

I did an experiment with our trash this week.  On average, our family has about 4-6 bags of trash per week.  We feel like we are taking it out all the time.  I decided to see how much trash we would have if we recycled our paper, cardboard, plastic, and aluminum, and fed our food scraps to the chickens (Perhaps to city dwellers who have recycling service this may seem a no-brainer.  But out here in small town/country life, we have to haul our own recycling to the station some 15 miles away).  My son emptied the recycling bins twice this week into larger containers outside.  It’s been a week… and I still haven’t filled one trash bag yet!  Amazing, right?!  A family of four without even one bag of trash in a whole week?  It’s getting close to full, but I took this picture yesterday and will probably make it until tomorrow before I need to take it out.  We will have made it 8 days with only one bag of trash.  That’s a good change.

One, it’s less trash to take out.  Two, it’s less trash to dump into the mysterious land fill.  Where is that land fill anyway?  Where does all my trash go?  Where is the trash that our parents took out 30 years ago when we were kids?  Perhaps it’s under your yard, or under my yard, or leaking dead battery lead into the water supply somewhere?  Who knows where all that trash goes from decades of waste.  But this week, there is less of it.  Hopefully this experiment will turn into a habit for us, going to the recycling station every few weeks when we’re in town.

So recycling is a good option.  Turn something used into something new and useful again.  Repurpose.  Redesign.   Reducing our disposable consumption altogether is also worth considering.  What items that fill our trash bin could be not purchased in the first place?  There are quite a few to consider.  Some are easier to break the habit, though it still takes some determination – paper plates, paper towels, bottled water, disposable grocery bags.  Others are more difficult to forgo:  cereal boxes, aluminum cans from canned vegetables, plastic bags from frozen vegetables.  Some are almost impossible to purge:  meat packaging, dairy containers and wrappers, household supply boxes and bottles (if I had a cow I could ditch the dairy containers and use glass jars, and perhaps I could use butcher paper to have our beef packaged in if we bought it in bulk? – one of these is more likely than the other for us in the near future – I’ll let you guess which one).

While we may not be inclined to stop purchasing all things that produce mounds of trash waste from our homes, recycling a few kinds of items such as the ones listed above, will reduce our trash, and cutting back on disposables when we can is a worthwhile effort.  Perhaps I will contribute a bit less to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and the local county dump as well this year.  Anyone want to join me?