Minimizing Waste



Hilarious bag from Emily McDowell.  Click through to purchase. Just don’t leave it at home.

Up until this point, I’ve been blogging about topics in which I have a reasonable level of experience, and even some “success”, if we can call it that.  Purging, decluttering, fighting consumerism… All things that generally describe the life I’m living right now.

However, when it comes to the subject of MINIMIZING WASTE, I don’t exactly hold my head high.  In fact, I’m pretty ashamed of the amount of waste produced by my daily life.  The issue seems almost insurmountable.  *insert wide eyed emoji here*

Initially I thought I’d hold off on writing about this until I got better at it…  Until I could offer you the “Top 10 Ways to Waste Less” based on my own achievements… Until I could say, “If I did it, you can do it too!”

But then a friend asked if I could write about it.  *GULP*  It felt like I got caught with my hand in the cookie jar.  *What? Who? Me?*  I’m nowhere near where I want to be with this issue, but… I guess it’s probably better to just be honest with where I am instead of waiting because that could take a while.  So here I am, exposing my blatant disregard when it comes to my own wastefulness.  True confessions:

  • I toss things that can be recycled, because I get lazy.
  • I have a knack for forgetting my reusable bags when I go shopping.
  • I buy tons of things that are individually packaged (versus buying in bulk).
  • I use an absurd amount of paper towels in a day.
  • I use disposable diapers.  I mean my SON does. I don’t use diapers.

Obviously the problem isn’t that I was never taught about the importance of minimizing waste. On the contrary, “Recycle-Reduce-Reuse” was one of the many jingles of my childhood, but I’ve turned a blind eye toward the matter for most of my busy adult life.  I didn’t take it seriously until recently, when I watched this Upworthy video about Lauren Singer of Trash Is For Tossers.  

Lauren leads a ZERO WASTE lifestyle and the only way I can describe it is: UNREAL.  While I’m taking out a bag of trash almost every single day (our trash can is small, but still), she was barely able to scrounge up ONE measly mason jar of trash in two whole years.  Everything else had been composted, recycled or simply not purchased.   Watch the video, it’s incredible.  Really made me think.

Why do we produce so much waste?!  I suppose, as with most issues in life, it comes down to two things: Priorities and Perspective.  In America, we seemed to be trained from a young age to seek convenience.  It’s basically handed to us, and we feel strange turning it down.  We’re able to “grab and go” and carry on with our busy lives.  We usually don’t think too far into the matter… BUT if we did, we might consider changing a few things.  We might consider separating compostable items from our actual trash.  We might consider not buying as many bottles and cans.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average American produces about 4.4 pounds of garbage a day.  This garbage ends up in landfills across the nation, which create an obvious threat to both our health and the environment, but for most of us, it’s “out of sight, out of mind”.  This is what I meant when I mentioned Perspective.  We really ought to think about the big picture.  We ought to think beyond our busy little lives and think about the world we are leaving behind for our children’s children’s children.

Our choices shape the world, and every little change we’re able to make for the good, truly IS good.  Like I said, I have a ways to go in this department but I’m moving in a positive direction, and I want you to join me. We just have to start somewhere.

I’d love to hear what you’ve done to minimize waste in YOUR life.  Please leave a comment below!


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