I am continuing to think about the things I consume and the garbage I make. I have never spent this amount of time thinking about garbage.
I found this really interesting movie, not yet widely released, although coming out on DVD soon. It is called the Clean Bin Project. A young couple from Vancouver decide to challenge each other to see who can produce the least amount of garbage over the course of a year. They come up with the idea while cycling down the pacific coast of the United States, where they lived for months with only what they could carry on their bicycles. When they got home they were confronted with all their “stuff” and asked themselves why they needed it all, if it just is going to end up in a landfill. So they decided to stop buying stuff for a year, and eliminated their garbage to practically nothing along the way.
My garbage is far from nothing. Sure we recycle, but check out this pile of recycling bags:
Okay this is about 3 week’s worth, and we had a 5 year-old birthday party thrown in there, with all the toy packaging that entails.
But really, even if we recycle, is this amount of waste going out of our house in 3 weeks even remotely acceptable?
Well I took one more small step to reduce it today – paper napkins. No longer will I buy these. They are made of trees aren’t they? How many trees are cut down to produce North American paper napkins for one year? I have no idea but I bet it is high. Have you ever gone to a fast food restaurant and ended up with like 15 napkins on your tray? Why do we need all these? I don’t want them on my tray and I don’t want them in my house.
So I went from this:
Do you like my P-E-A-C-E Christmas decoration in the background? I know, I thought it was a nice touch. At dinner time our whole family discusses this peace decoration, and we each have opinion whether we have peace in our house. Peace and quiet? Not so much. Peace in our hearts? I would say so…
Anyway, the point is that real cloth napkins are much more refined. Paper? No dear, we use cloth.
Actually I purchased these 8 napkins for $6 at a second hand store, Value Village. I am seeing how many things I can also avoid buying new. So far, Value Village has filled my pretty napkin needs quite nicely.
We will see how they work out, and whether the extra laundering is that annoying. I am optimistic. How much extra work among 12 loads of laundry, can 8 little napkins be?