This winter was hard, for whatever reason, and in a lot of ways, it seemed harder than in years' past. I don't know why, either. There wasn't, really, a great deal more snow this year, but it just seemed more inconveniencing than usual, and it wasn't even colder than usual. It also started later, and I'm pretty sure that I was still harvesting things like kale from my garden in late November/early December. It just seems like it was longer, which is ridiculous, because here we are in March, we're tapping the maples (as it should be - because this time, last year, the tapping was already done), and the snow is receding, and everything seems to be on a normal schedule. Still, the winter seemed very harsh, and very long, and very cold, and very snowy. Perhaps it was just me.
But the winter wasn't tough for just me. There were other people in other parts of the country who had problems this winter. In particular, the people in New York City, when they got hammered with a couple of back-to-back snowstorms and the piles of snow got in the way of the piles of garbage, neither of which could be moved.
Garbage disposal, heck, waste disposal, in general, is a real problem in this country. Everyone is in a quandry of what to do with it (see my last post about some particularly nasty waste we don't know how to dispose of - and I reckon it's a good thing God Blessed Texas, because they're going to need all the blessings they can get).
Most of us don't think about what happens to our garbage once the garbage trucks take it away, but we should. In fact, we should be thinking about it before it ends up in the garbage bags, because what we're doing right now is not sustainable. In many places, we're running out of room for trash. In fact, there have even been land disputes between states on the issue of garbage disposal, when one state that has too much tries to send it to another state for storage, and other countries are getting into the act now, too with European countries sending their trash abroad and Canada sending their refuse south.
Obviously, what we're doing, as a country (and a world), with regard to waste disposal, isn't working. I was looking up some information for this piece on waste disposal in Maine, and I found that Maine has some pretty incredible programs. In particular, I liked the moving toward zero waste workshop they offered, because I believe that zero waste is the best option.
And the first step is to begin to make conscious choices when it comes to waste disposal - like this guy, who wanted to see how much garbage one person generated in a years' time by keeping all of it. His was a fascinating experiment, and while I won't tell anyone that they should model it, I would encourage everyone to spend some reading about his project, and then, take it that one step further at the grocery store, or at any store for that matter, and ask the question, "When I'm finished with the yogurt, what happens to the single serve cup?"
The next step would be to imagine if the garbage trucks didn't come for a week, two ... sixteen? What would happen to the increasing pile of (more likely than not) stinking heap of garbage on the curb? *Some of my readers may be like some of my neighbors who don't have curbside trash pick-up, and for those, I would ask, what if the transfer station stayed closed? What would happen to the bags piling up in the garage?
The first of the three R's is "reduce", then "reuse", and then, "recycle." If we start to look at those three R's as a guide when we're making choices at the grocery store, then it becomes easy to see the wisdom in the order, and the question of what to do with the garbage becomes easier to answer ... because there's less of it.
So, if I had to give advice on how to deal with garbage it would be:
- Limit the amount of trash that comes into the house.
- If it can be reused instead of tossed, then reuse it.
- If there are no reusable choices in the packaging, pick the one that can be recycled.
- If it can be composted, it should be - no exceptions.
With that in mind, I have a great book to offer today. Sewage Solutions addresses ways to handle sewage other than the typical "treat and release" method we currently use. As usual, if you would like your name entered into a random drawing for the book, please leave a comment.
AND THE WINNER IS ...The winner of one of Deus Ex Machina's homemade olive oil lamp/candles is Mrs. D. Congratulations! Please leave a comment with your full name and the address to which you would like your lamp mailed. Comments are moderated, and I will not publish your personal information.