Anna Shinoda

Away is Always Somewhere

I remember loading up my brother’s truck every year in the early summer, heaping it full of the pine needles that had blanketed our yard since late fall.  Done with their sleep under the snow, the dry, long needles were a fire hazard and an eyesore.  We’d drive over half an hour to the middle of the desert where a giant stinking hole in the ground awaited us.  Unloading the bed of the truck as quickly as possible, we held our breath to escape the stench of thousands of people’s waste.  Part of me was deeply afraid I’d slip and be sucked under the black trash bags, the discarded couches and ancient TVs, broken tables, rotted food, plastic bottles, cans and bag after bag of dirty diapers.

Although landfills have come a long way from the dump I visited as a teen, my vivid memories of all of that waste left a lasting impression: throwing something away means it only goes away from me.  It still ends up somewhere.

This is one of the reasons why in our home we try our best to do things that will minimize what goes to the landfill.  Most of what we do is fairly ordinary and can be implemented in any home or business.  To name a few:

First and foremost, we take meticulous care of everything so it can be passed on to someone else to use even when we are done with it.

We recycle plastic, cardboard, paper, glass, aluminum.  We have a worm bin for our food  waste, and our yard waste goes into the green waste bin provided by our city.  We recycle our Christmas tree. We separate our electronic waste and have it disposed of properly.

We have used either cloth diapers (I like Fuzzibunz) or biodegradable disposables (my favorite brand is Honest).

We use reusable bags when shopping – that includes produce bags.  And if we forget, we always find a way to recycle or reuse the paper or plastic bags.

We use reusable lunch containers and reusable bottles instead of plastic water bottles.

Old towels have become cleaning rags and we try to avoid using paper towels as much as possible.

We prefer wooden toys for the kids, but for those that light up and play music, we use rechargeable batteries.

Cloth napkins… yes, even with the kids we use cloth napkins.

In the comments, please add to this list and discuss other ways to reduce, reuse or recycle.

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7 thoughts on “Away is Always Somewhere

  1. You always do a lot of good things!I’m Vietnamese,13 years old,I’m a LP fan but I really intersting about you,and I’m a kind of girl that likes poetry.Please twit me on Twitter!

  2. YoMarquesLP on said:

    You guys do so much for the environment, I always like to read your blogs about it! We try to recycle as much as we can here, and we use reusable bags when shopping as well. I saw some great ideas in your list, maybe we’ll be able to do some of them too!

  3. Two of my roomies are moving out soon, And they will leave a lot of funiture behind that my new roomies don’t need, So I went to the Red Cross so they will pass it on to poor people that can’t afford new beds for their kids or a desk for when they go to school

    I also stopped buying soda and juice and drink water alone (from tap to glass or reusable bottle)

    I use old t-shirts for drying my hair (better than towels for the hair) and for cleaning too, or I craft new things out of clothes I don’t wear anymore like pillowcases or bags

    I am a geek, so my electronic waste will be reused somehow, I swap with something I need with friends if something is not usable anymore I give it to a company and pay money so the depose it properly

    I use biodegradable cleaning supplies

    I have a knob in my room that I push when I leave and it will shut off all electrical devices in my room like the Standby of a TV

    And for what its worth, although I smoke I don’t throw the cigarette butt away on the street

  4. emz321 on said:

    I’m always annoying my mum with making sure that everything and anything that can be recycled is and if something can be used by someone else when we don’t need it that it goes to charity shops. There are times that we do take stuff to the local dump but I think that’s sometimes out of laziness and sometimes because we have to do.
    I’m actually doing a photography project at the minute and I’ve decided to photograph charity shops because I’ve always been interested in “waste not, want not” and I want to see what people do give away and at times the things they give away that should, frankly, thrown away. I would also like to ask people why they decided to donate.

    Always love reading your blogs,
    Happy New Year!

  5. evooba on said:

    Wow, that’s amazing! You guys do a lot, you’re such a green family! I wish we could do that much here. We try and use reusable paper bags when grocery shopping etc but unfortunately one of the stores’ policies here is that you must use the plastic bags they provide so it’s not easy every time to get passed that and convince the cashier to let us use ours.
    As for recycling we try our best since only 15% of what people throw in the recycle bins is actually recycled, and we also compost food waste etc.
    Oh, do you guys recycle bottles? Like glass beer bottles or plastic water bottles? We gather them up in boxes (10 pieces in each) and send them back to the store so they can clean them and reuse them.

  6. Pingback: Away is Always Somewhere | 10Ch_iie

  7. wjmccardle on said:

    A friend of mine is part of the “Philadelphia Dumpster Divers”, a group of artists who utilize only found or discarded objects to create their art; materials such as styrofoam, which of course is non-biodegradable.

    The group has also proven themselves beneficial to the city’s economy and community by creating temporary gallery spaces in abandoned shops or offices. Under the agreement with the landlord that they will pay utilities, they transform these empty spaces into art galleries. Ultimately, the attention drawn by the art in turn draws attention to the space, a buyer will come in to take over and the dumpster divers move on to the next place in desperate need of rebirth.

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