September Mini-Challenge: STUFF

Trash Pickup Facilitates Endless Consumption

A friend of ours just came back from studying Spanish in Guatemala. One of the things that stood out for her (aside from chickens everywhere) was the fact that the community in which she lived did not have regular garbage pickup and therefore the things people bought stayed with them. No throwing away a pop bottle and having it disappear. Nope, it stayed on the ground where it was dropped.

If that was the case where we live, think about what the typical American neighborhood would look like. We’d all be living on a trash heap — OR

  • We would buy less
  • We would find a way to use that piece of refuse for another purpose
  • We would give things away and share
  • We would complain to manufacturers who over-package the products they sell us
  • We would ask our stores to carry more things in bulk so we didn’t have to buy the packaging
  • We would buy things locally rather than have them shipped from so far away, which is why it requires so much packaging
  • We’d try to make things ourselves so we didn’t have to deal with the waste

If you stop to think about it, garbage pickup is a way we hide the truth from ourselves about what we are really doing to the planet. It’s one of the luxuries that allow us to keep consuming.

Check out a few interesting pieces about waste:


About thinkofitasanadventure

We are a 50-something couple living in the Longfellow neighborhood of Minneapolis. We attended a sustainability conference at our local high school in November 2010, with keynote speaker Richard Heinberg from the Post Carbon Institute. What we heard shocked us deeply. We finally understood the need to transition away from fossil fuels as quickly as possible. We immediately began to change the way we live. We joined together with other folks in our neighborhood to learn more, to do more and to have fun doing it! We're part of Transition Longfellow. We're choosing to change now and to "think of it as an adventure." If you are on this journey too, we'd love to hear from you.
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