Our Waste – June 2016

Dearest friends and readers,

( This is going to be quiet long, so if you do not have the time to read it now, please return later :)

We live in the 21st century, and as humans produce a lot of waste. And no I am not talking about what falls into our toilet. I am talking about every other thing that leaves our house and our hands. Where does it go? Why do we do it? And how do we change this? Well I have been working on changing things in my daily life and feel so much better about myself, my health and my impact on the planet globally.

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It all started at my workplace last week at the photography gallery. I went to bring something out in the compost bin in our courtyard and saw that on a Tuesday ( the garbage gets emptied on Friday mornings ) The giant black bin was more then overflowing from the approximately 30 people that it serves. I thought to myself, ” After just 4 days of being emptied, this huge plastic tub is full again with peoples S#*T !  ”  I could hardly hold myself back from emptying every single garbage bag and separating these things into paper, plastic and compost. ( This has happened many times before I am sad/glad to say ) But I contained my rage, left the garbage how it was, put my orange peel into the very empty compost bucket, and tried not to think about it for the rest of the day. This of course did not work, and I am still thinking about it. Which brings me to this post.

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I live in Germany, one of the most advanced and intelligent countries in Europe. We have an excellent recycling system and our WASTE gets picked up at our front door once a week. This is separated into paper, compost, and other WASTE. We also have a cool system in every neighbourhood that ables one to recycle glass ( divided by colour ), plastic and aluminum/metal items. The city has containers for recycling old clothes/textiles on these corners as well. Throughout every city, we also have WASTE disposal centres where you can recycle larger items, and unique items that can not be picked up at your door ( like old furniture, flammables, etc. ) After this is all said and done, people still manage to fill garbage bins with insane amounts of WASTE. I really do not understand it! I have found clothes, wooden shelfs, rubber boots, and many other items in these bins while disposing my small amount of garbage into them, and am praying for a change. I have complied a list of techniques every person, in every country can use to reduce their personal WASTE by large amounts, and in my opinion, become a happier and healthier person.

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Plastic sadly overtakes our society. Everything is packed in it. It fills our stores and litters our homes and parks. So what can we do?  STOP BUYING IT! Plastic is usually synthetic, most commonly derived from petrochemicals ( aka petro oil.)  No wonder we have worldwide oil issues!  So please please use cotton/linen bags, glass jars, and aluminum containers. Buy food in bulk or at your local farmers market. Every city or town has one, and you support what is grown locally. FARMERS FEED CITIES!  Ask you supermarket to put your cheese or meat purchases directly into a jar or reusable container instead of being plastic wrapped, in a plastic bag, and then in another plastic bag. Buy in bulk so that you avoid the thousands of individual plastic wrappers, and separate your foods at home in jars.  I could go on about this forever, but the main thing is. If we stop being lazy, plastic use is ( for the most part ) avoidable. The less we buy, the less of it we have, and then less of it produced.

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Here is a great article by an inspiring and amazing young women living in Brooklyn, New York. If you do not know of her, Lauren Singer, you should. Converting things in your home with the help of this list will do the world wonders. Please give it a go.  http://www.trashisfortossers.com/2013/08/zero-waste-alternatives-ultimate-list.html

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Please buy Organic Food/Cosmetics! Organic means natural. That means naturally grown, without pesticides, additives, extra sugars etc. Do you really want to ingest pesticides that have the ability to kill off entire insect species? Or eat meat from a cow that has been pumped with steroids? I am no scientist, and I have trouble understanding everything I read on this subject, but I do know this is true. I do not want to have cancer, or heart disease, or a brain tumour, or diabetes, or, or or. So I buy and eat almost only organic food, and encourage everyone else to do the same. Since I have made the switch to organic,  I have lost the fat that forever hung around my hips and thighs. I have more energy, I rarely have head or stomach aches, and the only reason I go to the doctor is for my yearly check up ( or when I had my appendix out last year !  ) If you live in Munich please check out this supermarket. They are compleetly waste free!    http://www.ohne-laden.de/hallo

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Stop buying into the Fast Fashion industry! I am no saint. For years in high school and college I shopped at Wal Mart, Bluenotes, American Eagle,  and H & M. I had very little money for clothing and wanted of course, a new top for the weekend. These enterprises can afford to sell their clothing at insanely low prices because a) the people that make the clothes earn almost nothing  b) their working conditions are very poor and c)the fabrics they are made of are very low quality d) many of them polyester based and they do not last. Of course a few these items still hang in my closet as it it hard to get rid of some of my favourites or ones that have sentimental meaning. But, in the last 3 years I have been downsizing my closet ( this is a must when you move across the world ) and donating my used items to second hand stores and charities. When I do need or want new clothing or shoes, I head to my nearest second hand store, and take my time going through the many racks, say for a black pair or jeans, until I find the right one. I pay less and they get a new home. I look for items that are made of natural fibres like cotton, wool, silk and leather. They are more comfortable, and allow the skin to breath. They last longer, will not end up thrown away 6 months later, and will eventually decompose. I also have so many items from flea markets, yard sales, or friends or cousins closets. I used to receive garbage bags full of clothes from all of my cousins when I was younger and I am so glad I learned this lesson early. When I do want a new item that I can not find anywhere else, I purchase from companies like Patagonia, Finisterre, Icebreaker, Armed Angels, Pact, People Tree, or Veja. These are just a few of the many organic, and sustainable companies that sell great clothing. There are so many more out there to discover. Watch this documentary for more information on the subject.    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3162938/   It is great!

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I hope you learned something from my environmental  and WASTE ranting essay and start to make some changes in your own lives. Things may cost a bit more in the beginning then you are used to, but you will save more in the long run, and of course, contribute to a cleaner and greener planet. I understand that recycling and WASTE removal and pick up is so different in every city, but please, stop being lazy and put in some effort.  If can convert even one of you to change, I will feel so much better. Thanks for reading :)

 

 

 

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I’m Andrea, a spirited adventurer and photographer. I capture food, portrait and travel photography. I was born and raised in Ontario, Canada but my feet, my camera and my heart have lead me far from home to Munich, Germany where I currently live and work.

2 thoughts on “Our Waste – June 2016

  1. Andrea, sadly it is convenience that wins out when it comes to recycling. Keep it up girl, I’m proud of you !!

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  2. Great Article! We try to recycle as much as we can our house Andrea. We do need to improve on the ‘grocery’ shopping. Thanks for sharing! hugs…Auntie

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