Zero Waste Trash Talk

The purpose of this blog is to provide creative solutions to the crisis of waste management
– G A R BA GE – This is a RECOGNITION of RESPONSIBILITY with the ultimate goal of living without waste.

Often the concept of trash collection and removal – throwing things away and recycling –  are assumed rights and taken for granted. This is particularly the case in larger municipalities such as cities and suburbs. *Less densely populated rural areas tend to not have the same public utility services and must handle their own trash removal. 

The first step needs to be self-reflection.

One must carry the burden of her/his own impact.

Imagine some alternate reality where each person must carry every single bit of trash that they have ever produced… Picture every plastic straw, straw wrapper, ketchup packet, piece of paper, cardboard package, individual wrapping from a granola bar, every ticket stub, toothbrush, red plastic cup, etc… a snowball effect expanding and dragging like a chain behind every person for their whole life. 

We are lucky for that to not be the case. 

Growing up in the United States, I have never considered or questioned receiving a handful of ketchup packets with my fast food order. It wasn’t until I was in an airport, in a foreign country, and in haste and jet lag, ordered from my recognized home country fast food establishment. I received my tray with fries and asked the server for some ketchup and she rang it up on the register. And I stood there for a moment, thinking maybe she misunderstood the request. I was shocked to have to pay. She explained the matter of waste and production cost. 

That odd moment, handing over some change for a packet of ketchup, I realized certain societal concepts of entitlement that never occurred to me until I was outside the United States. 

The intention of this blog is to not ensue guilt…“No good has ever come from feeling guilty, neither intelligence, policy, nor compassion. The guilty do not pay attention to the object but only to themselves, and not even to their own interests, which might make sense, but to their anxieties.”  Paul Goodman

Nor is it to make anyone feel depressed or doomed.

The purpose of this blog is to provide creative solutions, innovations, and simply inspire the consciousness about how our personal choices affect our natural world. 

I was inspired to write this blog after reading this TED article:  What plastic item would you love to ban?

I see the whole public conversation around plastic straws as a shot of morphine into our collective veins to avoid facing what actually matters.The production and consumption of the following items — and all of the fuel, raw materials and pollution they entail — continues to rise, unabated, in the world: computers, phones, tablets, servers and server farms; military weapons; container ships and shipping facilities, commercial airliners, cruise ships, helicopters, pleasure boats, jet skis, lawnmowers, leaf blowers, motorcycles, cars and trucks, refrigerators, washers and dryers, air conditioners, televisions, condominiums, housing developments, apartment and office buildings, shopping malls, paved roads/highways, dams, and power plants. Together, these represent a colossal crisis of environmental degradation and climate destruction that has all but dropped off the collective radar.

At the same time, we’re also witnessing the continuing global decimation of ocean creatures for food. Leading marine scientists predict that at current harvest rates, most fish populations will be commercially extinct within our lifetimes. Anyone who cares about ocean creatures can stop eating them as a first step; yet despite how obvious that is, only a tiny percentage of people are doing that.

So, my proposed ban is: this conversation. Let’s quit pretending that plastic straws even make the list of the top 1,000 problems we should be discussing, and perhaps we can begin to summon the courage to take a deeper look at our culture — and ourselves.
— Chris Jordan (TED talk: Turning powerful stats into art)

Read full TED article here: