Photo by D’Arcy Norman
A few weeks ago I did a Garbage Inventory – keeping track of the garbage that myself and Kaelyn created over the course of one day. It was very interesting to me, and I shared a few of my observations in my Garbage Inventory – Part I, and I still have a few more thoughts about it, that I wanted to share with you.
While I found that we had a lot of food waste, I observed that we had a fair amount of waste that related to food – wrappers, containers, things of that sort that food comes in. I realized that, obviously, the more you eat real, whole foods (as in not processed foods), cook from scratch and buy in bulk, the less food related/packaging waste you will create. This is an area I really want to get better at – it will save us money and is much healthier to eat less processed food. I am hoping in the coming months to learn to cook/make even more things at home, and from scratch.
Thinking about processed food packaging, made me think about packaging in general and how much waste is created simply in the packaging of items. I would like to become more aware and thoughtful of the packaging and waste created in a products that I purchase, whether food or otherwise. When deciding whether or not to buy something, does the amount of packaging the item have play into your decision making? It never has for me before.
But, now I want to start looking at an item on a store shelf or rack, and think “Do I want to throw away the waste created by this items packaging? Is there a way I can buy what I need with less packaging involved?” This would include buying baking supplies, cleaning supplies, etc. in bulk, as well as not buying single serving food items – like single serving fruit snacks, cheese sticks or granola bars, but trying to figure out a way to create my own single servings in re-usable packaging. This may also mean looking at a toy or household item and trying to find the one that has the least packaging waste. This is also another great reason to buy items used whenever you can – no new packaging to throw away!
“You are what you waste”. The types of things you throw away and the waste your family creates says a lot about the kind of life you live – the kinds of food you eat, the way you clean your home, the way you care for your children and ultimately the way you think about the environment. I think so many times it too easy to throw things into the garbage can and it becomes ‘out of sight, out of mind’. We don’t think about the fact that our garbage doesn’t just go away into some vast black hole of trash when the garbage truck comes and hauls it away. It has to go somewhere, it takes up valuable space on this earth, and it has effects on the ground, the water, the air that we don’t even realize. I want to become more and more conscious of the things my family throws away and try to reduce our waste in any and every way that I can.
Is this something you think about, or does never really cross your mind? Have you thought about the type of waste you and your family create? Have you taken steps to reduce the amount of garbage you throw away?