Friday, April 18, 2008

Is Your Trash Green?

Several years ago, I noticed that a lot of the food I was buying was, eventually, making its way to my trash can. The light bulb went off and I realized I needed to be a more conscientious consumer. My solution was simple and it’s worked like a charm: Every Friday I make a list of the food Mark and I will eat for the upcoming week, including all breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. Since we prepare every meal ourselves (we eat out maybe once a month) it’s a long and detailed list.

But it’s worth the small effort.

This exercise has gotten me to think about so many different things: Am I getting the proper nutrition each day? How can I best use left-overs? How can I be smart in my food shopping to get the most out of what I buy? For instance, I can use that bag of carrots in the salad and the stir-fry and as a snack, ensuring none of it will end up in the garbage.

Life is also less stressful this way. I’m not worried about what I can have for lunch or if I have what I need to make dinner. Of course, there are times when I don’t want to eat what’s scheduled and, in those instances, I just swap meals or see what else is in the pantry. It’s never even been an issue.

Just this past Monday, another benefit of this approach hit home. As I took the trash out—one half-full bag—I looked over and saw that our next-door neighbor, a single man, had six bags of trash. One person creates six bags of trash and two people create just half of one? I was saddened by his behavior but really proud of Mark and me. Then is dawned on me that I haven’t carried out more than one bag in a very long time.

In addition to buying smart, and using everything, we recycle absolutely everything we can—even the plastic bag our Ezekiel bread ( comes in. We don’t compost yet (and, when we do, I’m sure we won’t have any trash) but I do save as much as I can for the birds and make weekly deposits in our back yard.

The ironic thing here is that I live close to a very large dump, and it just happens to be one that will take trash of any type—including hazardous waste—from anywhere. It’s not uncommon for me to see large trucks with license plates from all states, barreling down the main road.

So here’s my challenge to you: Be a more conscientious consumer and stop sending your waste my way! We can do this if we all do this together.

Question of the blog: How green is your trash?

No comments: