I cleaned out some closets over the weekend. I always feel sooo good when I do some major purging. This time, I didn’t get rid of so much but in years, months past, have hauled away entire black garbage bags filled with clothes and “junk.” But it was still good to consolidate, get rid of some empty boxes, etc.
I couldn’t help thinking back to “trash day” at Gram’s house when we were kids and for many years after. You see, practically everyday was trash day because out in the country, folks burned their garbage. Every other day or so, Gram would haul a little bag or two down to the burn pile and light a match to it. Only once did she manage to set the entire field on fire, but in a farming community, even that was somewhat acceptable as a way to prepare a field for planting. When my family moved next door to Gram in 1978, we used an old 55 gallon drum to burn our trash but still, it was years before we ever had sanitation services out there.
Trash management was certainly different just thirty years ago. What little couldn’t be burned was usually recycled. Glass jars were used over and over again. The use of plastic for just about everything was not yet widespread. Clothing was worn out.
This wouldn’t work for most people today because our trash heaps contain so much more than could be burned up easily. Some people have mountains of garbage out every week for trash collection. And we can and do throw almost everything and anything away, without thought for where it will end up. It’s a luxury almost, isn’t it? That in the first place, we can afford to throw so much away. And in the second place, that so much garbage is acceptable.
I’d consider myself only light green in terms of living an environmentally responsible lifestyle. I don’t compost. My recycling efforts are meager at best. I’m sure I’ve disposed of some batteries improperly recently. But thinking about all the trash I generate is at least helping me reconsider why if I really need this or that in the first place. And I figure, maybe it’s a start!
How about you? Got any [thoughts on] trash to share? Have you ever thought of garbage (disposal, etc.) as a luxury?