I used part of my last day of my car-less vacation going to the dump to throw away three 60-gallon bags of trash.
I try. I try really hard not to make trash. But when you go to a new place, you have to start figuring out all over again how to do it. And a month wasn't enough time.
But here's the thing. In the United States, 40 percent of municipal waste is packaging of various sorts. Materials we don't even want. Materials that don't improve the quality of our lives.
Since everything eventually goes to the dump, doesn't that mean that, by weight, packaging represents 40% of the material throughput of our economy?
Doesn't that mean, therefore, that 40 percent of the greenhouse gasses produced in the manufacture of retail goods is pumped into the atmosphere to make packaging?
Couldn't we make a significant dent in greenhouse gas production by just getting rid of it?
Are we really going to let the planet fry for the sake of frozen food boxes?
But it's hard. Lifestyle change alone isn't going to cut it. I try--really--but I couldn't cut out my packaging this month. And if I can't, then there are many others who can't, too.
The companies, for their own reasons, wrap everything in molded petroleum and dead trees. We have to convince them not to.
That means we have to get involved. With business. With Government. With Democracy.
We have to get involved and we have to help make sustainability as easy as falling off a log.
Photo of Southold transfer station courtesy of my second-hand Blackberry.
Colin Beavan (that's me!) is now leading a conversation about finding a happy, helpful life at Colinbeavan.com. If you want to know how people are breaking out and and finding authentic, meaningful lives that help our world, check it out the blog here and sign up to join the conversation here.