08 January, 2009

Los Angeles Cameraman Collects His Garbage For One Year

I found this article pretty interesting. Dave Chameides from Los Angeles began thinking about the amount of garbage he was adding to the environment, and decided to go on a one-year spree of not throwing anything away.

Read the IOL article here

The resulting collection, stored in his basement, will be going on display at a museum.

More than anything else, it has made him think about his landfill footprint. It's sad but true that with a little forward planning, any of us could easily and painlessly reduce the amount of rubbish we produce. Dave composts organic waste, avoids buying packaging as far as possible, and thinks about the best choices when packaging is unavoidable.

I used to have no interest in bothering with the "green" thing. But these days I am more conscious of packaging. We usually take reusable bags to the supermarket and I am generally pretty good with recycling plastic shopping bags for our rubbish. One thing that irks me though is that the best recycled toilet paper comes in a plastic package! Ugh. Sitting next to it on the shelf is the paper-wrapped brand, which unfortunately is sandpaper mislabeled as toilet tissue. I guess sometimes the dollar wins (because plastic wrappers are cheaper than paper). But hey, I'm not destroying my backside to protect the environment, sorry!

Anyway, I digress. Some of the things Dave talks about are easy to do. Our family has 99% given up bottled water. The tapwater in my town is literally undrinkable, so we have a water filter. Yes, it's plastic, and so are the replacement filters, but it generates a lot less waste than buying water (and is far cheaper). And it really isn't hard to fill a water bottle before you leave the house - besides that, water is healthy, and it saves buying takeaway cans when you get thirsty out and about. My kids use a bottle to take drinks to school about half the week and use carboard juice boxes the other half. This is something we could improve on, but the catch-22 is that larger juice containers are generally plastic anyway, and I suspect the thickness would mean they generate more waste overall. I'm considering moving to the cardboard juice concentrates.

Has your family made household changes for the environment, large or small? Maybe it's just turning lights off or hanging clothes rather than using a tumble drier.

~ Elisa