We’ve been getting a little criticism lately and I just wanted to set a few things straight. Firstly, this is a project we are doing for ourselves. Over the course of the project we have learned a lot and made this blog to share some of our new found knowledge. We are not trying to be revolutionaries. We are not trying to make other people feel bad. We do not think we are superior. We are just doing the best we can.
On that note, I’d like to talk a bit about my life philosophy (come on, don’t yawn). I don’t believe that if you can’t do something perfectly, you shouldn’t do it at all. Very simply put, I know there are a lot of bad things about this world and it can seem overwhelming, but I always try to remember two points
1. There are also a lot of good things about this world
2. Every little effort counts
I often think of the story of a boy and his sister walking on the beach and looking at all the starfish washed up on the sand. (*I apologize in advance to my vegan readers because this is cheesy, but good). The boy asks “what will happen to all these star fish” and the girl, still walking says, “they will dry up and die.” At that point, the boy reaches down and throws one of the star fish in the water. The girl says sadly, “There are so many. You can’t possibly make a difference.” to which to boy replies, “It made a difference for that one”.
I totally agree with the moral of the story. I can’t change the world. Maybe I can’t totally eliminate garbage in my life, but I can still make an attempt to change myself. I can do the best I can, and for me that’s enough. I would rather do something than nothing. So, yes when we buy in bulk, there was some garbage somewhere down the line- the things we bought came in some kind of packaging to get to the store, but we saved at least 2 plastic bags, probably more.
We don’t eat out often. We do realize that even if we don’t have the garbage ourselves, garbage was made to prepare our meal, but at least we spared the napkins, the take out containers etc. I really think every little bit counts.
Secondly, the idea of this project is not to pass on our garbage to other people. “Happy birthday! Here’s some Styrofoam and a rotten apple!”. The main idea of the project was to not generate any garbage for 31 days consecutively. This took over two years to achieve. We tried to turn our failures (garbage we got while trying not to) into something new. The cards we make out of collage materials, windowed envelopes etc., are something we are really proud of and people tell us they really like them. I am going to post pictures of them hopefully tomorrow. We haven’t been using fruit stickers on the cards because we found out that it is possible and not that difficult to just pick fruit that doesn’t have a sticker. The idea with our cards and paintings is to try and give the garbage a new life- to make it into something beautiful or useful. Without tooting my own horn, I think the cards are successful in doing so. I admit some of my paintings are not. They still look like trash. Once again, I’m doing the best I can.
Yesterday I called Toronto Waste Management to confirm that bottle caps could not be recycled. They can’t. I also learned that a machine picks out the plastic (from diapers and bags) and it goes to landfill. It can’t tell the difference between a regular plastic bag and a biodegradable one and nothing breaks down very well in a landfill. I was thinking about it though and I still think the biodegradable ones are a better option because at least they have a chance of someday breaking down.
That’s all for now. Thanks everyone for all your support and suggestions.