Not to be confused with a garbage resolution, because this is anything but. For me, the New Year's resolution usually becomes an almost concrete, albeit subconscious, resolve to do exactly the opposite. Trying to better myself through goals and deadlines essentially turns into a desperate battle to maintain status quo and not get any worse. What brought me out of my anti-self-betterment shell this year was a video on my Facebook feed about a garbage mass floating in the ocean that can, at times, be the size of Australia. Australia. The country that is also its own continent. A garbage continent.
And to make sure we are as scrutinizing as possible, I taped a picture of the ocean on the inside of the lid of the garbage can. Now I imagine throwing my garbage on a tiny baby sea turtle. Emotional manipulation at its finest!
Watching a video of turtles, fish, and seabirds nipping for food at the massive underbelly of a floating plastic wasteland, I couldn't help but feel personally responsible. Water bottles, Tupperware, grocery sacks, cheap toys, clothes hangers, knickknacks, online purchases and their packaging, etc. So much plastic! So much garbage! The visual was daunting. The dilemma difficult. How could I affect change when my necessities of life are a life sentence for others?
After my Google search for renting garbage boats proved futile, I was forced to take a hard look at my own efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle. I could do better. I knew I could. I could teach better, too. So, along with my family, we decided some of the changes we could make were:
- Use our reusable bags for all of our shopping
- Use only refillable water bottles
- Switch to silicon straws
- Collect and take old batteries to a store that offers battery recycling (in AZ, Batteries Plus Bulbs)
I also started following a couple of "green accounts" on Instagram and Twitter, like @greenmatters and @lifewithoutplastics. Their feeds are a healthy dose of guilt/reality/motivation as well as daily reminders of the goals my family and I are trying to keep.
And to make sure we are as scrutinizing as possible, I taped a picture of the ocean on the inside of the lid of the garbage can. Now I imagine throwing my garbage on a tiny baby sea turtle. Emotional manipulation at its finest! The visual reminds us to ask, "Can it recycle?" as often and as much as we can. It helps us to remember that the garbage goes somewhere, it doesn't just disappear. Us humans are fortunately not trying to survive beneath the waste from millions of people yet. (YET.)
So that's it. We are making small changes. I clean out my rubber straw, refold the grocery bags, collect the used Wii batteries and just try to do better. Not all. Just a little more than before.
Turns out waste management was a resolution I could get behind. Now maybe next year I will finally be able to tackle managing that other waist of mine?! Bahaha. Yeah, right.
This blog was thoughtfully written by Brooke Ewing. You can find her on Instagram @brookenorma.