In the NY times a couple of weekends ago, there was a disturbing/enlightening/messy/ article about garbage pick up and disposal in the UK. The UK is running out of landfill space………therefore, drastic measures have been taken to force people to stop buying and throwing away so much stuff.
In summary, in many provences in the UK homeowners receive garbage pick up 2x a month. (A MONTH!!!) They are allowed, at each pick up, to have a full bin (regualr sized garbage pail) filled exactly to the brim. If the lid is left open at all the waste company will not pick up the extra garbage. There are “garbage police” giving out tickets and fines for people who are repeat offenders. This is causing major chaos throughout the countryside. There is a wave of trash burning, bin stealing, and illegal garbage dumping like never before. The grabage stinks and people are worried it will cause health problems sitting around for two weeks at a time. This is the disturbing /messy piece of the situation.
The enlightening part is that there are major changes being made. People are buying less, and what they do buy they are trying to buy in recycled products or in packaging that can be easily crushed and flattened. This in turn is forcing manufacturers to produce products with less packaging and less waste.
I day dream of the scenario in which people stop buying plastic…….. no more Dora the Explorer color -coded play refrigerators being purchased (for real, I saw one being thrown away when I took a walk the other day. It was huge!!) b/c there will be no way to EVER get rid of it. And forget those Burger King Sponge Bob toys–if you buy it, you do so knowing you will have to live with it FOREVER!!!!! Whose going to subject themselves to that??
It is helpful to me, when I read an article of this magnitude, to realize that this plastic garbage situation is not all in my head AND we can ALL really do something about it. Think about every single thing you throw away for a week, really keep track. You will be amazed at how much you produce and hopefully by how much you can change: buy less junk, recycled products=good, buy less junk, compost (it makes a big difference), give hand -me- downs to salvation army, buy less junk, re-use everything!, teach your kids to use less (ex, water down the apple juice container, buy a used tennis racquet, grow a vegetable garden). There are so many different ways we each make a difference.
In case my not-so-subtle brainwashing didn’t work, one of the key factors in less waste is buying less stuff. Something to think about……….