For some reason Thanksgiving begins the season of excess. We loosen our belts and ride the frenzy of buying and eating until we wake up around New Years fat and broke. Every year I vow to be more efficient and thoughtful in my gift giving the number of catalogs that arrive through my door clearly make the same vow but I know that most of the gifts I give will be returned and that I will stand on long lines returning mine. The reality is that the holidays make me think about waste. And garbage. And every year I feel a little guiltier as I become more aware of what a huge drag on the environment trash really is.
According to hotfact.com, Americans throw away up to 25% more garbage (five million tons more than the daily 3.5 pounds of garbage we usually throw away) between Thanksgiving and the New Year. About four million of those tons are made up of wrapping paper and shopping bags. The website IdealBite.com recently included a list of websites that sell cool, reusable bags you can buy that will save some of the 12 million barrels of oil and 14 million trees that go into making plastic and paper bags every year:
What else can we do?
Forty-four percent of junk mail is thrown away without being opened, so take matters into your own hands this year and call up and remove yourself from their lists at www.the-dma.org.
A few years ago we stopped using paper products (except toilet paper) in the house, and its been pretty satisfying and easy. But the number of baby wipes weve used in the year since our baby was born is pathetic. One of my favorite websites is No More Garbage by a couple in Toronto who have been trying to live without any garbage on and off for the last few years. Im having another baby in two weeks so the baby wipe trash is going to double. Sarah and Kyle had a baby a few weeks ago, and say they have managed to not create any more garbage since her birth. They use cloth diapers and are planning on practicing Elimination Communication, and instead of disposable baby wipes they use Hankettes Organic Cotton Baby Wipes from www.grassrootsstore.com. This is very impressive to me, and if our next apartment has a washing machine I would like to follow their lead. Until then well deal with the guilt.
Even more extreme, check out Haute Trash, a group of artists who produce runway fashion shows featuring haute couture made from garbage. Here are some more practical garbage reduction tips, from hotfact.com:
If you have any other great ideas for dealing with garbage, please send them in!
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