Tuesday, 13 October 2009
365 days of trash
One mans attempt to throw away nothing for a year!
Dave Chameides is the namesake for Sustainable Dave, a title he was given after deciding to keep all of his rubbish in his basement for a year. He’s been teaching a course he created, Chasing Sustainability, to school kids for the past three years and is going to be turning it into a documentary feature in the coming year. If something was waste that Dave generated he made it his goal to deal with it. This entailed him figuring out what it was made from, what would happen to it if it were “thrown away” and what he was going to do with it. Any waste that he generated that could be recycled, he also kept because even though recycling is better than throwing away it still takes energy and creates waste. After one year, Dave had stashed about 30 pounds of trash not including recyclables in his basement. He was able to limit his waste for a whole year to roughly the amount the average American produces in six days. The average American disposes of five pounds of rubbish daily, adding up to 1,700 pounds of rubbish annually but Dave’s rubbish dump was so small he was able to fit it away in only a 10 square feet in his basement.
(lots of great info and tips)
After reading the brave and courageous story of Sustainable Dave and his mission to keep all his waste in his basement for a year I have found it hard myself to chuck things away. It has made me realise that nothing is really rubbish, it has made me ask the question; "what is rubbish?" and I have came to the conclusion that rubbish is just the stuff in life that we are done with and choose to ignore.
Many people think that once you put rubbish in the bin then viola its gone, off the planet, disappeared, nothing more to be dealt with...but obviously they’re wrong. It has to be collected, transported to landfills or hopefully recycling centres. At the landfill it has to be buried and at the recycling plant it has all to be split and dealt with in different ways and then transported to factories to be reused. So all that transportation is causing pollution for a start! I just find the amount of things that people dispose of each day absolutely diabolical. There are a lot of people who do recycle as much as possible but there's still more that don't give a thought in the world to where there McDonalds box goes, where the plastic wrapper on there new catalogue goes, where that catalogue goes, where an old stereo ends up!!
Definitely in most cities in the UK people are provided with numerous different bins for cardboard, glass, garden waste and normal rubbish which is very positive and smaller towns are slowly getting these services also. However there are still a lot of people that are down right lazy. They were brought up chucking there unwanted things in to the same bin and they don't have the care to change for the better. This is just in the UK but it is hard to tell the situation in other countries. I never hear about all the recycling going on in China or Greece; are foreign countries better or worse when it comes to recycling?
When in 6th year I went on a study trip to Norway and stayed with a host family who were definitely more waste conscious than many I know. In the kitchen there bin had about 5 different compartments for different materials so that they could all be disposed of properly or recycled. This is excellent as its not just having that option on your doorstep but actually in your house so you cant forget!
The reason I have such a problem throwing things away is because I see the potential in everything to make something new, to make it in to something else. My friend said the other day Iv got lots of milk bottle tops if you want and I said yeah I'll have them even though I didn’t know what I’d do with them but I knew that I would think of something. My friends have realised that I’m big on recycling and are always offering me rubbish that they know I will appreciate.
I would usually put quite a few things in the bin on a day to day basis because although I would like to I cant keep everything as i don’t have the space or the time as I don't know when I will have time to make all these collected things in to new things. What I need is the confidence to tell people that they need a bin for this and that and why and make sure they go through with it. It wouldn't be hard for me to say to my boss at the pub I work at that they should have a separate bin for cans but I can just see the screwed up expression now and hear the why? I just find it really hard to chuck things out because all these things shouldn't just be ignored after they've been used for all of three days to package a salad or a toy.
How can we just chuck things away?