“The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers”
–William Wordsworth, 1802
99% of the stuff you and I buy today ends up in the trash in just six months. That’s according to the Story of Stuff, which, if you haven’t seen yet, you must stop reading this right now and see it.
Recently, I took my kids to a tour of the San Carlos Shoreline Transfer Station where our garbage goes, to see how the story of our stuff ends. I highly recommend this as a place to start in post-consumerism. We came away truly impressed by the whole operation. We also came away utterly shocked by how much garbage we produce. I mean, shocking. Shocking. It made me realize that:
1. I am really, really lucky that I can just make garbage and someone else deals with it. I will try to be conscious of the people getting paid $12/hr. for eight hours a day to pull out the recyclables that I’m too lazy to sort or empty out.
2. I am grateful for my job, and that I don’t have their job.
3. I will attempt to get as close as possible to zero garbage within six months, and share my progress here.
So my recommendations for where to start, if you’re interested, are: watch The Story of Stuff, then find out where your garbage goes and schedule a tour. Guarantee you’ll be inspired to change something.
Where does your garbage go?