In my recent post ‘What a Load of Rubbish!‘ I talked about how litter has infiltrated our urban and natural spaces, our growing waste problem and some of its consequences. Recent media attention has drawn attention to waste, so that our consciousness of the issue appears to be growing. I’m an optimist, so surely this is the start of something good? Yet it’s not always easy to cut down on waste. These days, there seems to be endless packaging whenever you buy anything and things just don’t seem to be made to last, do they? So you often have no choice but to throw items away. While I don’t claim to be an expert on waste management, I know of several approaches aimed at reducing waste throughout the production and use of consumer items, including innovating production systems to design out waste, reducing the use of certain items such as single-use plastic bags or bottles, or improving reuse or recycling of items. All positive and important and important things.
However, maybe we should also question why we are creating so much waste in the first place? Take recycling for example. It’s kind of become the poster child of helping to ‘save the environment’. Why? Well, once there is a system in place, it’s fairly easy to recycle, you can feel like you are doing your bit, with no drastic lifestyle changes required. Here’s the thing though, once we are at the recycling stage, we have already generated something we no longer want or need. Wouldn’t it be better to not produce so much stuff in the first place? Recycling can definitely be part of your sustainability journey, but it’s only a mere scratch on the surface in solving our waste crisis.
I can’t help but wonder what the root cause of all this waste is? Is it related to our thirst for ever more material goods? Or perhaps we are disconnected from the impacts our wasteful habits are having on nature and other people? In the future, I hope to explore these questions further. I would be keen to hear your thoughts on this. In the meantime, I encourage you to keep trying to finding ways to live less wastefully. There’s plenty of ideas around, here’s one list of suggestions by Nourished Life that I like. Above all, keep thinking about ways you can integrate different strands of sustainability into your life (and don’t worry if you can’t do everything).