We the Consumer: Waste more than we consume

10 years ago I worked overnight stocking for a corporate supermarket whom you can likely guess easily. One of my firmly embedded memories of the experience was witnessing the massive amount of meaningless waste. There would be times while stocking cases of soda that a case would slip, or my muscles would give out from fatigue, and it would drop causing a can to either dent or bust. No matter the status of the remaining 11 cans, the entire case would go to the garbage. This pattern followed with just about any product that received very minor damage in part or whole.

I included a dumpster diving video as an example of this corporate waste as a drop in the bucket. Youtube searching for dumpster diving comes up with countless videos of finds in various establishment’s trash receptacles.

The thought process on waste began this morning with, probably, my 10th visit to Starbucks this week for coffee. My mind has been on a trend of thinking of practical trades to learn, stuff that would aid mankind when the zombie apocalypse happens, and realizing that catastrophe can flip our world upside down in the blink of an eye at any time sure makes one think. Looking at the plastic cup of coffee in my hand, and the empty cup on the table from the day before, I could not describe here the feeling. Only, maybe, an urgency to stop this madness of excessive waste.

But…

We have become so used to it. Those who champion the plain of living a waste free life are an inspiration to some, but so far from the norm that it is odd for us to see. Yes, some coffee shops like Starbucks will happily fill your metal canister with your purchased beverage, but how few of our products can we purchase without contributing to waste? How difficult and drastic a change from the norm do we have to make as individuals to simply not contribute to our massive degradation of our resources and planet.

Food for thought. It seems to me that consumerism and capitalism has made it incredibly easy for us to continue the cycle of waste.

What do you think? Is there anything you do to decrease your waste? Is it a pressing need for you?

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3 thoughts on “We the Consumer: Waste more than we consume

  1. It is a really pressing issue for me. As you know, I live in Australia, and like many Western nations, a scarily large percentage of the food we produce doesn’t make it to market. You know: the oranges aren’t quite orange enough; the carrots are oddly shaped; the potatoes are too small, or too long … it makes me so mad.
    So I try to use every piece of food we purchase in our household. Veggie odds and ends get made into soup, food scraps go into compost, and so forth.
    I try to extend the same philosophy to other areas of life. Clothes get donated to charity, or torn up and used for cleaning; plastics get recycled; books (which I rarely feel the need to get rid of, but still) get given away or labelled with a “Take me with you!” sticker and left on public transport, etc.
    One unfortunate side effect of this mindset is that I don’t throw things away easily, which means I’ve got a lot of “stuff” hanging around which I probably don’t need.
    Despite all these efforts, though, I know I contribute too much to landfill and environmental degradation …

    • I wonder if there’s a correlation between depression and “hoarding.” I have a hard time throwing things away as well, and know many others who do the same. When I remember something I’ve gotten rid of, I get almost like a separation anxiety about it. Just bums me out.

      Anyway…

      I actually started using a meal subscription to help with food waste myself. Cause yeah… it drives me mad what our capitalist countries do with food that isn’t picture perfect. It’s really helped. I get 7 recipes, and a grocery list every week so that there’s very little if any waste.

      And omg clothes…. For a woman, I have an incredibly small wardrobe, all of stuff I won’t throw away. I have pants that are at least 10 years old that I’m only just becoming unable to fit into. 10 years! I was 18 and still fit!

      I love hearing about everyone’s ways that they save. Honestly, I dunno why it didn’t cross my mind to save clothes for cleaning…. my husband have massive amounts of shirts and his unershirts tear all the time. So that’s a great idea! And composting… ugh I’ve always wanted to do that but just never get the umph around to do it.

      Have been missing you btw. ❤

      • Thanks darl! I’ve missed being here, but NMG time is just so difficult for me right now …
        I totally agree with the difficulty of getting rid of clothes. And old greeting cards. And paperclips.
        Ugh.
        I did buy a book on decluttering last year. It’s still unread on the shelf…. 😉

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