How does Madonna’s song go? “We are living in a material world.” Well that is still true.
However, now we could change it to “we are living in a disposable world.” Just take a look around and you’ll see what I mean. Disposable items surround us. From paper plates, Styrofoam cups, single use water bottles, packaging, single use cleaning products and the list goes on and on. I have even seen a full size, single use, disposable plunger…now that is a lot of plastic to throw away after just one use, and for what reason. Think of all the items you use on a daily basis. If you count up all the items that are disposable, you will likely find that most of your possessions are disposable…how depressing!
This popularity of disposable items is due to the busy, on the go, and on the move lifestyles that many of us live today. It is simply easier to eat a meal on a plate that can be thrown away than on one that you have to take the time to wash. Some may argue that the water conserved by not having to wash the plate cancels out the negative impact of putting a plate in the landfill. However, with today’s energy efficient appliance models readily available, this statement may not be true; especially, if you make it a habit to only run a full load of dishes. But that opens up a whole different issue in energy and water conservation.
We are in love with the simplicity and convenience of disposable items. You can’t tell me you don’t love paper towels or disinfecting wipes. And if you are a parent of a baby, disposable diapers are the best thing since sliced bread. But at what cost, you throw it away but there is no “away,” all this waste has to go somewhere. Once it is in your trash and out on your curb, it’s out of your hands but someone still has to deal with it. It will still be sitting in a landfill, in a nearly unaltered state, long after you pass from this Earth, left for future generations to deal with. You can argue with me on that one, but I used to do some environmental work on a landfill. I’ve seen what garbage uncovered four years later looks like…basically the same as when it went in…only a lot smellier! Emphasis on SMELLIER!
Living in a disposable world is costly. We are willing to continually pay to replace the things we continue to throw away. This is a win for the companies selling these products. Make a single-use disposable product and consumers will have to keep coming back for more. The demand never goes away…genius!
In my effort to live more sustainably, I am trying to make positive changes in my life. As part of that effort and to break free from this disposable world, I am making the switch to reusable shopping bags. So the next time I am asked, “Plastic or paper?” I will say, “Neither.”
Stay tuned for an update as I go on this journey to free myself from plastic bags.
I also encourage you to do your part and take a step towards living more sustainably, even if it is just one tiny step. Remember, we all had to take tiny steps before we learned to run!
Click on this link to listen to Devon Graves song “Disposable World.”