In the news: U.S. Cities are Burning Recyclables

Further reason for sustainable daily life choices

Original article:

This is one of those articles that makes me feel helpless- and one that I probably wouldn’t finish reading except that I now have this site and want to encourage myself and others to really face facts.

What happens to your household’s waste after it’s picked up from the curb? Out of sight out of mind for you right? It’s time for us all to think about those responsible for cleaning up after us. Turns out, maybe not the best choices are being made at this level.

Did you even know that we were shipping our recycling to China? WTF? No wonder there’s a garbage patch in the freaking ocean.

I originally pasted a bunch of quotes from the article but really you should just take the time to read it for yourself- from in between your fingers like a horror movie was my preferred method.

These are just a few of the quotes I pulled and my quick commentary:

The [U.S] generates more than 250m tons of waste a year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), with about a third of this recycled and composted.

That’s an unfathomable number, like number of deaths in war but we can all agree it’s too much- where does it go? Think of the waste generated just in the years you’ve been alive and where it could be now.

There isn’t much of a domestic market for U.S. recyclables — materials such as steel or high-density plastics can be sold on but much of the rest holds little more value than rubbish…

Is this a market waiting to be tapped? How would one even start to find uses for recycled materials that are currently considered little more than trash?

Covanta and its critics agree that the whole recycling system in the U.S. will need to be overhauled to avoid further environmental damage. Just 9% of plastic is recycled in the US, with campaigns to push up recycling rates obscuring broader concerns about the environmental impact of mass consumption, whether derived from recycled materials or not.

This is the first valid reason I’ve seen to run for local government, to be a part of that conversation/overhaul.

Overall, this article has confirmed my worry that my recycle can is little more than a second trash can that makes me feel less guilty when I throw something in it.

Most importantly: let’s not be discouraged by news like this. Let’s turn that frown upside down and use it as a sustainable fuel (hehe) to motivate our continued efforts towards eco-friendly living.

It’s time for the Petrichors Army (that’s you reading this and me writing this) to take a consumer’s stand against single use items, even if they are “recyclable.”

Every human on Earth must reduce their waste in the near future or we will all drown in it one way or another. We need to help each other to find ways of not generating as much waste, together.

I have many topics in the pipeline about “zero waste” living that I look forward to sharing. I found this article in the past week and thought it was worth sharing immediately.

Send me other depressing articles like this and/or your current favorite zero waste find.

5 questions for you

let’s get to know each other! add yours answers to mine in the comments section below.

  1. what zero waste efforts do you make in your home that you use on a daily basis (kitchen, bathroom, office, on the go)?
  2. what do you want to improve in your daily life towards zero waste in the next year?
  3. why is zero waste living important to you?
  4. what eco-documentary do you recommend for people to watch?
  5. how often do you eat home cooked food?

These are not questions for judgement. Perfection is not the goal. We all have ways we want to improve, always.

(life is the journey not the destination right?)

What questions do you have?

6 recent huffpost articles on plastic

It’s time to share! I constantly find content, mostly on the internet, that I simultaneously can’t believe and need to share as much as possible.

Click the links, read the madness, then come back and tell me all your thoughts!

Big Business Wants You To Think It’s Fixing The Plastic Crisis. Don’t Buy It.

Businesses that make single-use items need to think about what happens to their products when they’ve reached the end of their lives, said Dune Ives, the head of the environmental nonprofit Lonely Whale Foundation.

Fawning Over ‘Fiji Water Girl’ Ignores The Evils Of Bottled Water

There’s nothing particularly special about bottled water from Fiji, you must know. “The only really unique thing about Fiji is its distance,” said Gleick, adding that the company has “one of the largest carbon footprints in the world” among water bottle companies.

People Are Living Inside Landfills As The World Drowns In Its Own Trash

Trash pickers who hike into the landfill spend their days in the tropical heat combing through broken glass, medical waste, rotting food and graying plastic bags. They look for valuables, raw materials and recyclables to exchange for cash.

Sarah Jeanne-Roey via Huffington Post

A Huge Mystery About Ocean Plastics Remains Unsolved

While it is unclear how much of the plastics have turned into gases and how much of those gases escape to the atmosphere or stay sequestered in the oceans, this could constitute a significant but unmeasured source of greenhouse gas emissions, she said.

Humans Are Pooping Plastic, And No One’s Certain How Bad That Is

All eight volunteers were found to have particles of most of the nine most common classes of plastics, including polypropylene and PET.

3 wooden shelves with matching sealed glass jars of food stuffs
Natural Weigh via huffington post

We Live In A World Full Of Plastic, And People Are Sick Of It.

Until consumers started to campaign loudly, food, drink and other heavy plastic-using businesses took little responsibility for single-use plastic waste, expecting urban collection services and a small recycling market to clean up the litter and dispose of their products.  

Are there even words to describe this world we live in? There are so many thoughts, what’s your biggest take away?

Petrichors Army starter kit

Let’s answer WHY it’s critical to make sustainable daily life choices:

mountain range from above showing the stark contrast between the heavily wooded side and the pilaged bare side.

Join me on a scroll through the images/info that replay in my mind constantly like a bad early 2000’s boy band song. I’ve limited my commentary on these images for now but this is the outline for what this site will be/is all about! (image sources are Pinterest unless otherwise stated)

text block that reads: it's pretty amazing that our society has reached a point where the effort necessary to extract oil from the ground, ship it to a refinery turn it into plastic, shape it appropriately, truck it to a store, buy it and bring it home is considered to be less effort than what it takes to just wash a spoon when you're done with it.

it starts with being informed. then, pay attention to your actions in your daily life and think about the origins of all the products you use, their final destination and how long they will be with you in between.

from space, the earth being bull dozed out front underneath the bulldozer that sits on top of it. text reads: in biological terms, we have become parasites and are devouring our hosts. -Paul Hawken
text on top of a green forest-y scene that reads: "we often forget that we are nature. nature is not something separate from us. so when we say that we have lost out connection to nature, we have lost our connection to ourselves." -Andy Goldsworthy
text on an image of a landfill that reads: there is no such thing as "away." when we throw anything away it must go somewhere. - annie leonard

it’s not completely about removing plastic from your life (although that is one way to identify where you can make changes) but it’s also how, where, when and what you shop for. shop local shop less often, use what you have.

triangle with 6 parts and text similar to the food pyramid idea where the slices start at the top as smallest and move to largest. It is called the buyerarchy of needs with apologies to maslow and starting from the top the slices read: buy, make, thrift, swap, borrow, use what you have.
cropped image of a person in white shirt and grey painted fingernails holding a reusable coffee cup that is white with a pink lid with superimposed teal text that reads If we all switched to reusable cups we would divery 500 billion take-away coffee cups from landfill every year.

if everyone in your town reduced their intake of single use coffee cups and started buying bbq sauce in glass jars instead of plastic, don’t you think the market would have to change to adapt to these buying habits? As consumers we have that power.

beach background, hand in a red cleaning glove holding a dirty old dated looking yoplait cup. text above and below reads: this piece of plastic trash was recently found on the beach -it was thrown away in 1976. this is why plastic is a problem.

I am constantly blown away when I consider how every piece of plastic that has ever existed still exists today. And that all of the plastic we use on a daily basis will outlive us in one form or another. Your first cell phone in high school? Still exists somewhere. Every starbucks cup you’ve EVER sipped from? Still exists somewhere. This is depressing to think about, I know. I’ve been there repeatedly. I choose to change that sadness into motivation to make better choices and to help others understand how changing their daily life choices really can make a difference.

"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." - William Morris. black backgroun white lettering

We can all grow and learn together as a community. I have plenty still to learn, this site is partially meant to hold me accountable to continue expanding my own understanding. The only way to turn this around is collectively.

Let’s talk about this, please PLEASE tell me your thoughts on this by replying below.

If this hasn’t phased you, I genuinely want to know how/why.

If you are falling into this dark pit with me or have been falling already and totally get it, welcome and thanks for being here. I apologize for potentially being the bearer of this inevitably bad news but I’m glad you’re here so we can impact change together. Tell me below where you want to start.