Sunday, November 2, 2008
Go Trash Free!
posted by Lia Mack
I have a very hard time tossing anything, since it's final destination is a landfill that in turn will inevitably pollute my water, air, and land. I breath the air. I drink the water. I grow food in the land. Why on Earth would I want to pollute it?!??! So I've done something about it, or at least have been moving in that direction. I'm going trash free. Yep, that's right! Totally and utterly trash free.
What does that mean, you say? Well, that means you leave nothing out for the trash man on Monday or any other day. You compost everything you can, reuse, recycle, or just don't buy it (reduce consumption). It's pretty simple on the surface. However, when you take on the challenge, it gets a bit more complicated.
You see, we've been born and raised in this not so Earth-friendly environment. You go out to eat. You take home your food - in Styrofoam. You are religious with the 3 R's in your kitchen, but you forgot about the waste basket in the bathrooms, laundry room, garage. You have guests over and they don't take heed to your cute little signs above your recycle and trash containers and toss out everything. Ok, so you see where I'm going with this. If you want to take on this challenge, it's a full-time commitment. You can't just use the "I'll do it next time" routine. You have to commit mind, body, pocket book, and spirit to the cause.
So, are you ready! Are you stoked! Here are some ways to help you stay on your game. And remember, no trash means nothing to the landfill. You can recycle till your heart turns, well, green. But no trash. No toss. No more ;)
1) Vow to never use Styrofoam again.
Whether you are buying meat at the store, taking leftovers home from the restaurant, or picking out a nice pair of new pumps, remember: Styrofoam cannot be recycled. If you can't recycle it, can't reuse it, reduce it. Just don't use it. Instead, bring your own containers for food leftovers. You'll be out to eat with other greenies, so you won't have to worry about looking like the crunchy hippie you are...you'll fit right in ;)
2) Compost everything!
I have a nifty-difty little sign above my, now empty, garbage can in my kitchen. It reads "No veggie scraps. No egg shells. No fruit peels. These go in the compost bin! Thanks, Management :)" Don't toss out that soon-to-be black gold for your garden. Make sure everyone in your home is on board with this one. And if that means being a compost police for a while 'till they get the hang of it, so be it. Why would you want to put that in a plastic bag to stink up the house anyway? Get a kitchen counter top compost bin, fill it up with all your kitchen scraps (minus the meat, bones, and milk products) and toss it on your compost heap every few days.
3) Remember the 3 R's.
When you are out shopping, before adding something to your cart, ask yourself, "Can this be recycled? Can it be reused? Do I have something already like it?" The bottom line for all purchases should be that if it doesn't fit in the 3 R's, you really need to rethink the item. Chances are, yes, with a little ingenuity and creativity you can find another way to satisfy your need...or want...craving...just gatta have it!!! Yes, we were born into this compulsive consumpting society, but if you are going to be trash free, you have to "be the change you wish to see in the world". Go Gandhi!
Now, having said all this, there are some things that I have yet to figure out how to fit into the 3 R's, compost, and not buy. I eat meat, so there are the bones from food that can't go in the compost and can't be fed to the dogs (mine are rather small dogs). So what about those? There are a few items that people will struggle with finding alternative ways, so let's open up a forum to find some solutions. What about Styrofoam?!??! What do we do with this stuff? How can we reuse it? What if it was bought with meat from the grocery store? Oops. What then? Can you really reuse it?
Here is the question to ask yourself, if you want to enter this challenge...Are there really certain things that just HAVE to be tossed? I think we can find alternatives to all of these items that we've been sold on having to toss out. That's where the NO TRASH challenge comes into play.
So, let's jump in and start the challenge!!
Start with a week. One week. Go trash free. Then add another week. Once you get the hang of it, be daring. Go for a whole month. Let me know how long you can make it and what made you break. What are some of the great alternatives you have come up with? Did you find the secret? Can you share it with the rest of us?!
I think this is a great thing for us to do. Why do we need to add to the landfill. Our ancestors (yep, I'm pulling out the oldies) made it just fine without trashing our Mother Earth. Now we're destroying it for our children and our children's children.
Make the commitment. Test yourself. See how far YOU can make it. Be green! Be trash free :)