As I threw away some post-breakfast trash this fine new england a.m., I noted my relief at the total lack of paper waste sitting atop the tiny shredder by the kitchen can. For months my husband had stacked all the stray bits of mail and other paper that settled in our home to be shredded, either for recycling or some yet-to-be-made art project. We both spent a great deal of time sitting on the pale pink and white marbled linolium floor waiting for the small machine to finish eating all the paper we could stuff into it.
There are currently two big black trash bags of shreddings sitting hidden from view in the boiler room of our home. The art project was made without their use and I finally gave up on saving all the scraps from their nasty demise in a landfill until we get another bin for me to haul them to the recycling center.
Relief from the insidious clutter!!!!! And then the little wheels of my early morning brain started turning. All that clutter that drove me batty is a mere fraction of what comes and goes through this house. We separate all of our recycling (metal, 1 and 2 plastic, cardboard and glass) and store it in 50 gallon bins outside. The trash goes down to our pizza shop's dumpster (no worries- we own the place!) to be hauled away regularly by waste management. I bring all the recycling out when the cans are full. And we have a large compost bin in our yard.
So, I told my sweet hubby about this thought over lunch. "My experience with all that paper is simply a tiny, laura-sized microcosm of the trash that our entire planet is dealing with. What if we had to keep all of our trash and store it because there was no one to take it away? Would that change my consumer choices? Would I only buy things with the least packaging possible?"
And Jason said "That's a good question- would we buy more previously owned things because the packaging is already disposed of? You know, maybe we should try storing our trash!"
"Great idea', I say. 'For how long?" We settled on a month.
So, starting today, Friday, July 16, 2010, we are not taking out the trash. We are going to look at how much garbage we generate and what we can do to minimize our impact in this area. When the month is over we will look at how much we have and continue exploring options for reduction. Then we may very well try again for 3 or 6 months- just to see what happens. I have already put containers in the bathroom to hold the paperboard centers of the tp rolls and a little spot for the hair from our brush and shower to be composted. Tissues are flushable, so no more tossing those in the trash. And a bin for all the damn paper recycling need to be aquired as soon as possible. I wonder if anyone on craigslist is giving one away...