March 19, 2011

An Experiment

I just finished reading the book The Story of Stuff, and it inspired the following two things:

One, I want to write like Annie Leonard. Describing potential environmental laws as a "delicious smorgasbord" is simply awesome.

Two, after putting down the book and proceeding to throw some useless bit of packaging away in the trashcan, it occurred to me to wonder just how much waste I actually throw away in a day. So, I'm going to try to keep track! I expect to be grossed out.

Two single-serving oatmeal bags
Tea bag, wrapped in a little plastic bag
Thread and fabric scraps from a week of sewing.
Banana peel
Cup, straw, and straw wrapper from a milkshake
Cup, straw, and lid from a drink at dinner
Soup cup and lid from dinner
Tea leaves
More fabric scraps from an evening project

So mostly food things. Some of that could have been composted, but we don't have a composting program at my school, and I don't think the groundskeepers would take kindly to me just throwing things in the yard!

But isn't it strange to think about? Someone's job was to design that cup or straw or single-serving oatmeal bag, which I used for a couple of minutes and then threw out. In fact, there were probably a whole lot of people involved in designing the packaging and actually getting the materials and producing the object and then getting it to the ice cream shop downtown or the campus sandwich shop. Surely all those people could have come up with something better than a wax paper cup that can't be recycled.

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