Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Excavation time!!!!

I recently went out for a run, and to pass the time away I alter my path to explore new parts of my neighborhood. I'm fairly blessed (or cursed depending on your point of view) that where I live has a wild mix of buildings including office parks, single family residences, townhomes, apartments and small retail. It's about as close to being urban without being urban and there are a lot of nice trees. This time of year brings out spring cleaning, and I am never amazed by how much we throw away, and how many things we throw away that are perfectly usable.

You see tons of packaging from electronics, lots of boxes (though I am guilty of that myself, I've been "cooking" far too many premade meals), old clothes. It's amazing that clothes have become disposable. Apparently "Good Will" does not want so many clothes either. There are things that in my youth I would have never imagined being thrown away like computers, stereos and televisions. About two Christmases ago, by my pool there were tons of TVs sitting on lawns with a sign that said "Free" but there were no takes. Guess everyone was upgrading to flatscreens. I'm TV free, but that's because I sold mine. One thing that breaks my heart is too see all the books that are thrown away. There was one time when books were precious, now they are like magazines or newspapers.

It's nice that people will put free on their trash, and it is true one person's garbage is someone else's treasure. But even then there are limits to what one will take for free even if it's usable. So what of all the things that don't get reclaimed, they get sent to the garbage dump where they pile layer on top of layer. Finding one of these dumps someday is going to be an archeologist's dream. What is that excavation going to say about us?


At 10:11 AM , Blogger arduous said...

Sometimes I think that in the future, once we've almost depleted our oil, people are going to the landfills to dig up all the stuff they can convert into oil (like plastic.)

At 3:14 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the subject of clothes, part of the problem is that synthetic fabrics and other factors have made buying clothes you're only going to wear a couple times really cheap. Synthetic fibers, from my own experience, can be bad news because you can only wear them so many times before they're ruined. I read an article a few months back that the average person in the U.K. (I think it was) throws out over 100 pounds worth of clothes a year. (Who are these people?! Definitely not me.) So it's been suggested that clothing be "leased" rather than bought, especially women's clothing. At the end of an item's "stylish" life, the consumer would return it to the store or company and they would recycle it into something new.

On the other hand, depressing as it is, with the price of more "essential" things like food and energy going up, there might not be as much wasteful consumption and the problem may more and more look after itself.


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