Thursday, May 1, 2008

Clutter: The cost of conservation?

Yesterday, as I was taking my trash out, I noted that for the first time, we only needed to leave one can at the curb.

That is huge, given that I had company over the weekend and that we have a little one in diapers (who happens to be at home this week, generating even more trash).

What made the difference? Recycling.

Sure, I’ve done curbside recycling for years, but the difference is now that I’ve stepped it up beyond the cans, newspapers and plastic soda bottles I used to save. I’ve recently located a drop-off point close to my home where I can get rid of old magazines that I can’t take to the hospital, office papers that have been reused as coloring sheets, cardboard boxes and even the paperboard that wraps all of those food items that require a little less preparation after a busy day at work. I couldn’t believe the difference it made.

The difference is also in my home, I’m sorry to admit. I have a stack of cardboard boxes, flattened, and three bags of paper that I’m trying to keep the toddler out of before my next run.

I also have diaper-size boxes of hand-me-downs, assigned to various people and organizations, and boxes of things that I’m hanging on to so I can donate the next time I’m at Fresh Start.

And while I’m not a Martha Stewart by nature, I’m beginning to wonder: Have our homes, in our attempt to be more environmentally aware, become the new landfills? Is clutter the cost of conservation and recycling?

3 comments:

Walking Green said...

I am looking at the corner of my living room where I have two large bags of things to go to the Salvation Army, a stack of recycling that is going in the morning and my desk piled high with papers that I need to go through and seriously was thinking the same thing.

How much decluttering, reducing and changing do I need to make before my house is less cluttered due my choices? It's a struggle sometimes between doing what is right and taking the easy way out.

RJS said...

I think more people are realizing this is an issue - and honestly, I think it hampers people's willingness to change.

As we get better at managing our waste as a society (from less boxed goods to dropping off the direct-mail lists) those little changes will make a difference.

mdwest said...

I just read this post and had to laugh. I get so upset by the thought that there are so many things that I *can't* recycle, like certain plastics or things that have outlived their usefulness but can't be re-used...I don't want to throw them in the landfill but I don't have other options. It's just trash.
I try not to be a huge consumer but waste seems to be built into our society.
I'm waiting for companies to start using hemp or some other easily-grown recyclable for packaging!
Thanks for the post!