Malati Marlene Shinazy on Waste
Even as I wrote the title to this story, Waste Not, Want Not, I wasn’t sure what it meant. It was one of those wise sayings my mother’s generation used in an attempt to control my behavior… I think she meant, “If I eat all of my food (waste not), I’ll never go hungry (want not).” Sounds good on the surface, but the logic is off. I digest every morsel I eat; it becomes waste; and then I want more.
In a previous story, Recycling in the Days of Old © I wrote about the delight my children took throwing and crashing glass bottles into recycling igloos in the days before curb-side recycling.
These days, we can recycle nearly everything we use. We just throw the item into the appropriate colored canister if we live in a municipality that has pre-sorted waste. Or, we throw every darn thing that might be recyclable into a single canister. The separating of paper from newsprint and glass from plastic occurs somewhere else, by some magic patented separator.
Despite wasting even less than I did before, I still want more, of something else of course, because I am a member of the Tribe of Wanters.
But wait. I may have found a solution for my shame for being a Wanter. It’s all about balance: Want Less and Waste Less.
I want chocolate, all the time:
- I want a chocolate mocha for breakfast.
- I want chocolate fudge after lunch.
- I want chocolate chip cookies and milk before I go to sleep.
The chocolate itself never goes to waste; it just makes me fat. If I want to eat a lot then I’d better want to exercise a lot, too – again, balance. Working out at the gym and yoga recycles the chocolate from my waistline into the great unknown.
But the wrapping? Mostly, that’s just considered trash. Although my recycling bin is filled with newspapers and office paper, my trash bin is filled with wrappers that covered some kind of chocolate.
The curbside recycling company wants me to turn my wants into waste. But my new balanced solution has found an operational component: Terracycle.com. Terracycle, a company started by a couple of smart college kids, will take those wrappers of wants and turn them into something useful I also want, like park benches.
So I’ve joined 30 million other people who are now recycling all kinds of waste from what we want. We just print a mailing label and Terrracycle pays for shipping the box of empty wrappers.
I’m a member of these Recycling Brigades:
- Candy Wrapper Brigade
- Energy Bar Wrapper Brigade
- Coffee Bag Brigade
There are a total of 48 Brigades at this writing, including a Paired Shoe Brigade and a Flip-Flop Brigade, for footwear Wanters.
This form of “Waste Not, Want Not” may be unfamiliar to my mother, but 2,421,760,561 items of non-trash converted into $4,457,039 of money for charity would certainly be a program she would want.
photo from www.terracycle.com
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