Waste not

I’m simply amazed at how much stuff I throw away. No matter how hard I try to conserve, reuse, recycle, reduce, I still find myself throwing away at least one large garbage bag of stuff every week. I’m not entirely sure what it all is.

There seems to be a lot of stuff in there that exists solely to be discarded. Things like those annoying stickers that come on CD cases that exist only to throw away. Or plastic wrappers that come around things that I buy. It seems that the packaging of products is insanely wasteful. Electronics things appear to be the worst offenders here, with small trinkets coming in elephantine boxes full of foam, fluff, and flyers.

Then, of course, there’s junk mail. After being at this address for nearly two years, I’m starting to get a lot more junk mail, so more than half my mail I discard immediately upon reciept.

The reason that this all comes to mind now actually has to do with a bath. I ran a bath for my daughter on Sunday, and, when it was full, realized that it was cold. Having just been thinking a lot about Haiti, I was struck by the enormous wealth that I have. Here was a bath full of clean, cold water. I don’t know how many gallons that is. But 50 miles off the coast of Miami are thousands of people who will use dirty, probably disease infested water to cook, give to their kids to drink, and perhaps wash. So here I was with this bath full of water that I could not use, which I could do nothing about but allow to run down the drain.

One of these days, we’ll be called to account for our eggregious wastefulness, while millions of people a stone’s throw away are suffering in poverty that most of us can’t even get our minds around.