Spending a week without throwing any trash away taught me one main thing: I don’t notice when I throw things away. I mindlessly toss things in the trash all day long. My roommate had to tell me, “don’t throw that away” or ask “do you want me to put that in your trash can?” throughout the week because I continuously forgot. This alone is a privilege. It is difficult to notice when I throw something away because it is so convenient to dispose of my trash. This will likely stick with me the most from this self intervention, because I want to be conscious of what I am disposing of.
Of what I did collect (which truly was most of my trash), I mostly threw away food scraps such as egg shells, the tops of strawberries, carrot peels, etc. If it wasn’t food scraps it was usually recycling. Several cardboard boxes, metal cans and plastic containers are in my collection from this week. This pleasantly surprised me, as the majority of what I collected could be disposed of through recycling or composting rather than waste.
In one of my GrC classes about recycling, my professors told us a story of when she brought her students to the landfill here in SLO county; in the landfill there was a green banana. The last time waste had been added to the landfill was over two months before they went to observe, and a banana peel had still been green because it couldn’t decompose. The question here should be, why are we still throwing away so many food scraps that can be composted and put to better use? If we all pay closer attention to what we are getting rid of (and trust me, I am included), we could reuse a sufficient amount of waste in a productive way and limit our contribution to landfills.