Reducing the production of trash


I'm reading No Impact Man: The Adventures of a Guilty Liberal Who Attempts to Save the Planet, and the Discoveries He Makes About Himself and Our Way of Life in the Process by Colin Beavan. Since I heard an interview with Colin on NPR, I've been interested in his endeavor to leave no carbon footprint on planet earth.

Colin writes about the challenges his family faced to eliminate making garbage. This included drastically reducing the use of items that can be recycled. I was thinking about this when I started my day and observed what trash I generated in the two hours I've been awake.

1. I had foot surgery two weeks ago and the surgery site has a dressing that needs to be changed each time I bathe. I took a shower this morning. Off came the ace bandage (reusable), the rolled cotton and the two gauze pads. The cotton and gauze pads are not considered reusable. Since the wound area is not seeping, oozing, or bleeding, I suppose I could reuse these items, but I don't because the doctor said to change them. After the shower, on went two new gauze pads and rolled cotton.

2. I had leftover Chinese food for breakfast. Fortunately, the restaurant packed the rice and moo shu pork in one container and the beans in another. I had only two carryout boxes to discard instead of three. They went into the trash. I'm thinking I could have pulled off the wire handles and put them in the recycling bin. Then I could have burned the paper in the fireplace. Yes, I have a wood burning fireplace. But I didn't do either of those things.

3. I opened a new jar of a B-12 supplement I take. The trash I generated were the safety seals and the cotton swab that in shoved in the top to keep the pills from breaking. A medical doctor recommended I take this supplement and it helps with my mood so I'm not inclined to stop taking it. What about the trash? I recycle or reuse the little bottle when it's empty but I can't use the cotton for cleaning cuts or can I?

One of the things Colin mentions is how, back before the industrial revolution, people didn't throw out the bones from the animals they ate but made them into buttons. I don't want to go back to life as it was before the industrial revolution. There's no way to do that. I want to generate less trash.

Even though I make art out of trash and found objects, there is no way I can use all the trash I generate, especially when I can't spend time in my studio do to this foot surgery.

Let it be know that I'm reading this book on an electronic device; no extra paper, glue, and ink used here.


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