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Have You Ever Considered Ultimately All Our Possessions are Garbage?

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Tom Szaky’s talk blew me away! He is one of the most concise, clear, and motivating speakers. He informs and triggers his audience to be positive change agents. I guarantee that if you are sitting on the fence about recycling or feel you could do better; he will motivate you to improve your behaviour in dealing with trash.

Why should we rethink and relearn how we view garbage as individuals and as families? In the United States, one person produces 4.9 pounds of garbage per day, as such a family of four produces 19.6 pounds daily which translates into 7,154 pounds per year! As Canadians, we are no better and produce 5.94 pounds per day which becomes 8,672.4 per year. As a matter of fact, Canadians have been listed as the top trash producer in the world.

Our children are concerned about garbage. They listen to our conversations, hear the news, and are taught in school about the importance of recycling. Layer this with our recent pandemic and global leaders, some of whom are young people like Greta Thunberg, our kids have many questions, and they want to take action. They are the future and rightly so, they are worried.

I encourage you to watch this eight-year-old video by Tom Szaky of Terra Cycle and Loop. He is on a mission to clean up the earth and transform our garbage perspective change our behaviour. Szaky lays out a circular economy model that requires manufacturing to take back packaging. The manufacturer takes responsibility for their product as he says from ‘cradle to cradle’. He states, “The earth should be happy I existed!

Yet, it doesn’t stop with changing how we view and deal with trash, he pushes us further to see the problem begins from our insatiable desire to purchase and consume more. Szaky states, “God is the consumer.” Furthermore, he calls us out, “Consumers are selfish actors. They prioritize convenience and the lowest economies.” In other words, we are all in search of the most, the best quality for the least amount of cost or that which will bring us the most profit. Being a Suzy Sale, and a person who likes to change, I often fall into this attitude and behaviour buying more than I need. We need to shift our perspectives by encouraging our families to consume less. We need to be more purposeful and restrained in our purchasing.

Yes, our ‘things’ often are representations of accomplishments, emotions, relationships and are needed to live or work, hence we think of them as essential needs in our lives. BUT maybe what we need to do is reflect deeper. Maybe we need to reflect and ask if this item is needed or do I want it? Does this object give me love or build a relationship or can I let go of the emotional attachment and share it with someone else? Maybe we need to reflect on our relationships and share experiences rather than consuming them?

It’s all about baby steps and slowing down. As a family, I urge you to consider listening to Szaky. I’ve included other links below. Possibly make one day a week trash day by engaging in one of these activities:

  • Head to the recycling centre with soft plastics or other recyclable objects not taken with your regular trash.
  •  Have a trash repurpose or craft activity.
  • Donate something that you are not using.
  • Go to the local park or while on your walk take a bag to pick up garbage.