Sunday, June 14, 2009

Going Native

There has been some sort of paradigm shift in our house lately. I am not entirely sure if it is just that we are catching up with the times and finally doing the socially responsible thing for our planet and community, or if we have finally transitioned from lazy ego-centric Californians to eco-centric, earth muffin Oregonians. In either case, after getting our composter two months ago there has been a drastic change around here. Taking the time to collect all of our kitchen waste motivated us to also become hyper vigilant about our recycling. Whereas I was once too lazy to even rinse out my tin cans or plastic bottles and instead simply opted to throw them in the garbage, I now find myself digging in the trash after people, and picking out all of the recyclables, washing them all out by hand, and sorting them accordingly. It is somehow extremely gratifying to me, this new shift in thinking about what we consume. We now almost exclusively use reusable grocery bags (and recycle the few paper and plastic bags that we do end up using) and have been cutting back in every way that we can to prevent food waste (thank you Debbie Meyer Green Bags!), and the over producing of trash. Two months ago we were taking an overflowing garbage can (the largest of three sizes offered by our county) to the curb once a week, which we often had to stomp on the top of to force all of it to fit. We have now downsized our garbage output by three fourths, and are rolling a nearly empty can to the curb for pick up every Sunday. In fact, we are now considering downgrading to the smallest garbage can offered by our county, saving money, while we are doing our own small part to preserve the planet. It is amazing to me that a few extra seconds here and there can make this large of an impact on just our one little household. Imagine if we all were able to cut back this much. For the first time I guess the difference seems tangible, that recycling really can drastically cut back on the amount of our waste, that we as individuals really can make a difference. I challenge you all to join us, to use less, recycle more, and invest the few minutes it takes here and there to responsibly manage your own household waste. It really does feel great, you'll see!

6 comments:

B Kinch said...

Well done!

Megan said...

That's really great. It is satisfying. We use the smallest sized trash can for our family of 5 (one of which wears paper diapers so there is a significant source of trash). We recycle everything that we can and usually both cans are completely full.
I'm really enjoying having the composter even though I've not noticed the fruits of the labor yet. I'm considering getting some worms to go in it.

Cheyenne said...

Thank goodness for people like you, willing to hunt through the trash. It eases my guilt in tossing things wherever. (Shame)

pksarna said...

Yay on you Jacob. I too have had a recent change of heart, and have started recycling everything from tea bags to tin to plastic shampoo bottles.

I took a tour of the local dump and recycling center, and it really changed me into a believer. Seeing the process, and the care the facility takes, erased my skepticism and made me want to do my part, and made me believe that all the due diligence does take place to recycle products into new things. Pretty cool!

Here we have mixed recycle--you can throw paper, plastic, cans--anything recyclable into the same container and machines (using weight, magnets, air, etc) will sort them into the appropriate piles. Now when I see something like a bottle go into the garbage, I just see it sitting in a landfill for eternity. A lot of recyclables take a very long time to decompose (like glass takes hundreds of years!)

Long story short...me too! I jumped on the eco centric bandwagon just recently...though I wish I could remember to take the reusable bags into the grocery store more often. I'm getting better but only remember half the time.

Hennifer said...

Yay! I love to hear about these types of shifts.

I've been undergoing them myself, although less dramatic in many ways.

The one thing I really want to do now is get those reusable bags for my produce at the grocery store, or I guess maybe I could reuse some of my paper bags. I'd pay a bit more for their weight but...

Hennifer said...

heeheehee...

holyhfg was my word verification, sounds like a modified swear word.