Think about Your Garbage!
How often do you really think of your garbage? For most of us, the answer is probably not often! Most of us probably do some recycling, maybe you do some composting. And surely you’ve read the scary statistics about food waste? All these waste reduction measures are great and you should keep doing it. But what about the rest of the garbage that still needs to be thrown ‘away?’ Who is the workforce behind our waste? Have you even thought of the people that carry away your rubbish?
As Robin Nagle talks about her her smart TED talk, in New York City alone people throw away 11,000 tons of trash and 2,000 tons of recyclables each day. EACH DAY! Nagle spent years doing anthropological research with the Department of Sanitation in NYC, working with them, learning from them. She describes her research with the city sanitation workforce as, “a remarkable privilege and an amazing education.” Not only is sanitation work one of the most dangerous occupations in the country (because of traffic and dangerous trash), it’s also got a negative stigma that cannot be shaken.
Watch this amazing video– and learn about the “relentlessness nature of trash.” What is your sanitation department like in your town? How can you bring some love to the people who haul away your garbage?
But we have a big problem on our hands, and becoming a conscious consumer is HARD– and it’s not your fault! As Annie Leonard so brilliant sums up in her Story of Stuff Project, we live in a culture that encourages us to spend and waste as if there is no limit. But there is a limit– there are not 10 other planets of resources to pillage.