Unless you’re willing to toss something in the garbage within about five minutes of getting it, without ever having really used it, you pretty much can’t get anything.
— Colin Beavan, on Day one of the No Impact Man experiment
Early in the 2009 documentary No Impact Man, the subject shows how much trash his family has created in the first week of the yearlong experiment to create zero impact on the earth; barely enough to cover the bottom of a standard wastebasket.
And now I can’t stop paying attention to everything I throw in the trash can. Plastic wrap. Paper towels. Straws. Gum wrappers. Candy wrappers. Diapers. Deli counter ziplock bags. Yogurt tops. Takeout containers. Leftovers. Before we started composting a few months ago, all our table scraps went in the trash as well.
It’s just so depressingly easy to make trash. I hardly even think about it; things pass through my fingers for moments, and then boom – in the garbage can. We probably produce a full bag every 1.5 days, and that’s after recycling as much as we can get into our city-issued bin.
Part of my motivation for starting SmallForGood was selfish; I wanted to educate myself on sustainable living, and the ways we negatively impact our world. It’s certainly been eye-opening.
I promoted the documentary on SmallForGood today. It’s funny, approachable, challenging without being preachy, and it’s immensely inspiring. I also love that it’s controversial (people have called it elitist, unrealistic, and misguided) because that usually means you’re on to something. Watch for yourself and see what you think. I guarantee you won’t look at your consuming habits the same way afterwards.