Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Trash doesn't just go away

Something that I have become more aware of, and concerned about over the years has been how much trash we all (my family, your family) generate. Trash is a concern because for a large part after it is tossed it just sits there, its doesn't disintegrate.

Case in point: When were moved to our current home we choose a large open spot to use for our garden. When we started tilling it up we came to realize that someone at some time had evidently used it as a place to dump trash. Every time when Ken tills I get to follow along with a big bucket picking up trash that gets turned up by (and sometimes stuck in ) the tiller blades. This is our 4th year to garden there but that doesn't mean we don't find any trash anymore. The above picture is a portion of the things we found this year: part of a foam mattress, an oil jug, many pieces of glass (I find these all summer long, and am very thank-ful we haven't had any cuts so far, I hope someday to have them all out of there!), car parts, tin can pieces, wire and more.

Even if you carefully get every piece of trash in the dumpster and off to the dump it doesn't mean it will disappear. All the trash has to go somewhere, and the more trash we create the bigger the landfills are going to need to be. I am not somebody that is going to say we are running out of space in our world, I don't believe that is true at all (I am not concerned about overpopulation) but at the same time, how much of the space do we really want to have taken up by landfills?

I was inspired after reading about a New Zealand couple who decided that 2008 would be a rubbish free year for them and at the end of the year they had collected just one shopping bag full of trash. Though I will probably never be quite that successful at not creating trash, it certainly inspires me to try harder. I encourage you to check out their site as well, though I might not agree with all of their inspiration, I think we can all be impressed by their diligence and creativity!

Here's hoping for a future with less trash!


All in a Day said...

Wow, that would be a challenge! We go through so much garbage here that it's not even funny. :(

Becky R said...

My mom's yard has glass appear all the time, no matter how much we clean it.

One great thing to do is compost. I think I have reduced at least 2 full garbage bags ecery month by throwing all the food scraps (not meat or butter, but fruit peels, etc) in the compost. I got a compost bin off freecycle.

Plus I ask about our garbage, "can I use this again before tossing it?" Junk mail can sometimes be used as scrap paper, as well as envelopes. My kids love to reuse boxes, they especially love to paint them.

Also to buy in bulk to reduce packaging. Also make your own bread, thus saving on bread bags. the list is endless.

A great thing is to eliminate paper products in house. A diaper sits in a land fill for way too long. Paper towels do break down pretty quick, but still you could avoid it being there by using cloth in first place (and you save some trees.)

Thanks for reminding us to think about our garbage.

Becky R said...

maybe I should also learn how to spell. lol

Kristen said...

We lived in a house with a yard like yours. We had a strange spongy section that literally bounced when you walked over it. The neighbors joked that the previous owners had buried "Grandma" out back. We dug it up and found an old swingset, a few portions of wooden fence, the roof they replaced but didn't discard and an old fireplace hearth. We found nails, glass and shells all over that yard for years. It was hard to believe the amount of trash that family had buried in their own yard. I don't know if I could go a year without trash, but we do our best to reuse and recycle.


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