This is one week of landfill rubbish, unfortunately a lot more than I had anticipated but it’s still a very small bag compared to what we usually throw away. Another family member who was minding the kids pulled items out of the cupboard that were bought before Zero Waste and had been set aside, despite instructions not to. Strong warnings have been issued for next week!
What we are sending to landfill this week
- A plastic bag that contained carrots, bought before Zero Waste and had to be used up.
- Plastic film from the inside of a cardboard box of biscuits.
- Plastic film that came inside an envelope containing an application form.
- Plastic film from the top of a tofu container bought before Zero Waste.
- Plastic film from the top of a pack of mushrooms, also bought before Zero Waste.
- This is the worst one: a ball of plasticine, which was discarded on the floor, coated in floor sweepings (could have been composted) and wrapped in a plastic bag (could have been reused).
- Plastic from some stickers the kids’ Grandmother gave them.
- Plastic bag that contained herbs, bought before Zero Waste.
- Wrapper of Jacobs crackers.
- A couple of pieces of coathangers that my children broke.
- A soup mix packet.
- The plastic from a Huggies Bed Mat. Of the paper, I threw away the soiled part and kept the clean portion to reuse.
- Chocolate bar wrappers.
- I forgot to include in the picture the leftover food from earlier in the week, that I’d kept sealed in the fridge.
Changing Attitudes to Waste and Sustainability
So all in all I’ve been successful in drastically reducing my rubbish. It’s quite easy to get two small children on board but harder for adults whose lifetime of habits are already established. A few people have told me that they would love their household to go Zero Waste but their family wouldn’t allow it. It’s easy for me to change because it was my own decision to do so. I have changed my ways because I am living under threat of an incinerator being built near my house. I understand that others are not ready and may never be. Nevertheless, the planet is in trouble and we should have started making changes years ago. This is why the government has to step in and create legislation forcing industry to redesign the products that cannot be recycled. We have the precision of technology to land the Curiosity Rover on Mars and we can’t think of a better way to deliver a packet of crisps to consumers other than in non-recyclable plastic. The human race’s priorities are strangely inverted. Bolivia recently passed a law which recognises the Earth as a “dynamic living system” and grants the planet protective rights comparable to those of a human being. If only other nations would follow this example.
Screening of Trashed at QFT
Last Thursday I attended a screening of Trashed at the Queen’s Film Theatre in Belfast. Along with Friends of the Earth I talked to a roomful of teenagers about Zero Waste and my Zero Waste Household experiment. They were as shocked as I was by the film and I was able to explain to them how I was already taking action on a small scale. I was very impressed by these young people who wanted to organise a viewing of the film to the rest of the their school.
I will finish this post with a snippet of conversation from Daniel Quinn’s 1992 novel Ishmael:
“- People need more than to be scolded, more than to be made to feel stupid and guilty. They need more than a vision of doom. They need a vision of the world and of themselves that inspires them.
-Yes. Definitely. Stopping pollution is not inspiring. Sorting your trash is not inspiring. Cutting
down on fluorocarbons is not inspiring. But this . . . thinking of ourselves in a new way, thinking of the world in a new way .”