Wow. A lot of things.
- The vast vast vast majority of trash comes from food packaging. Packaged food is less nutritious, on the whole, than fresh food. Packaged food, ounce for ounce, is often more expensive than fresh food. I’ve learned that making less trash, by consuming less packaged food actually makes me healthier and wealthier. I’m in the best shape of my life right now and I can see first hand that it is related to changes in my diet that have come from this project.
- When I ask people to put prepared food in my own containers it disrupts their flow and makes them think. Some people like this. They enjoy the momentary distraction from monotony and the novelty of the experience. Others get pissed off. It makes they have to pay attention, it takes more energy. I don’t know what to do with this information yet I just know I’ve learned this.
- Saving trash leads to increased consciousness of what I consume. I cannot purchase a single thing without wondering about all of the energy that went into manufacturing it, the resources use to ship, how far its component parts traveled until it was assembled, how far it then traveled to get to the store where I purchased it, the thousands of miles it may travel before finding its ultimate home in a pile of other unwanted manufactured souls
- Recycling sucks. There, I said it. Of course recycling is a powerful first step in becoming more aware of what one consumes and it’s better to recreate something out of something than it is to gather up more raw materials to make something new. That said, recycling still sucks. It takes enormous amounts of energy and clean water to produce plastic bottles and containers, glass bottles and jars and cans of all kinds. It take enormous amounts of energy to collect these items at curbsides and ship them to recycling facilities. It take enormous energy to recycle items and ship them somewhere to be remanufactured. Almost all recyclable materials come from food or health and beauty products – both unnecessary items we have grown addicted to in our modern world. Less recycling also means fresher food. Health and beauty products is another conversation and I’m not sure we’re all ready for it yet :o)
- It doesn’t take much to make a big difference. If I can do this, someone else can do this. If two people reduce their consumption radically, 4 people can do it to, so can 8 people, 16 people, 32 people, and so on. Change is much easier and much more readily available than most of us are taught to think and lead to believe.
- Trash sucks. 100 years ago most of the trash we produce now did not even exist. It did not even exist. Now it is at the center of a worldwide economic system that is lopsidedly built upon mass consumption to create huge profits for the few at the physical and environmental expense of the many many many. This makes me sad.
- Changing is fun, much more fun than it is stressful.
- Cleaning out food packaging takes time and is necessary to get rid of odors and to ensure bugs and rodents are not attracted to it.