No I did not spell waist wrong because I am not talking about my abdomen. This post is about waste, about how much rubbish I emit into the world a week.
The issues with the environment always seemed like a problem for generations to come. Too often were the words “not in my lifetime” were used in conjunction with visions of our great great great great grandchildren dealing with a polluted earth. But not anymore. The generation that’s dealing with a toxic earth, is us. By 2050 the fish in the ocean will be outweighed by plastic. There are several oxygen starved ‘dead zones’ roughly the size of the state of Oregon that literally cannot sustain life. Only 1% of Chinas population breathe air that is considered ‘safe’. Australia daily produces a colossal amount of waste weighing roughly 95,000 tonnes, equal weight of two Sydney Harbour bridges. Every. Day.
Our future is black and white and red all over, it’s sunburnt penguins, it’s no more Antarctica. It’s more water less sand. It’s no more of your couple goal holidays to snorkel the reefs, it’s no more reefs, it’s no more fish. It’s too hot to go outside without getting burnt, it’s seven children trying to fit in a freezer box, it’s being in danger when the air-con breaks.
I decided to hold myself accountable for how much waste I produced in a week.
I kept every piece of trash I would normally throw out, gross, I know, but at the end of the week lay it all out. The results were horrific. 8 coffee cups, 9 make up wipes, 2 Acai packs, 2 ziplock bags, 2 take away containers, 3 juice bottles, 2 rice packs, 2 strawberry punnets, a moisturiser bottle, 2 almond milk tetra packs, one plastic stirfry packet, falafel packet, 4 protein bar wrappers, plastic squeeze honey bottle, 22 tea bags (literally), 7 receipts, 4 clothes tags, 8 parking tickets and 2 sheets of Styrofoam from a package.
Me, a tiny human being made this much waste, in one week.
I was both disgusted and amazed with how I could make so much trash that would be on the planet for thousands of years. Everyone wants to be remembered, to leave a legacy, but I sure don’t want the only thing left of my memory in 300 years to be my dirty makeup wipes.
So 'shrinking my waste in a week' is not going to involve more diet teas or exercise, but less plastic, paper and unrecyclable materials.
Forget your true love, what really lasts forever is Styrofoam, plastic and other non-biodegradable substances. What's truly unromantic is having to take off surgical masks to ‘kiss the bride’ on our wedding days in the next ten years because of toxic air. The time is now Gen Y, let's get our shit together.