Saturday, August 16, 2008

Going Green, Baby Steps At A Time

I saw on the news a few weeks ago that there is a tiny town in Japan where all the residents are required -- REQUIRED! -- to recycle everything. We're talking absolutely every eensy-weensy little bit and scrap of garbage each household generates. Each home even also has their own compost pile.

And although it doesn't seem glamorous or convenient, I can see that this is really the direction we all need to go in. Every one of us. I mean, let's be practical; we're burying ourselves in crap -- garbage that floats around in the oceans and washes up on beaches and tangles and kills wild animals just for starters -- and for what?

The waste we each produce -- and I'm not talking about the dirty useless garbage, like human waste or scraps of bones and meat cause that's actually very small (in relative terms) when you realize that vegetables and egg shells are all compost-able -- just the sheer PILES of plastic and synthetics and such by-products we each generate/throw away each day is really staggering.

So thinking on that and after I despaired for a little bit for the state of the planet, I realized a baby step is way better than nothing and a step in the right direction.

Plus what's already nice about Nashville is I know many of us already think in Green directions. I mean, otherwise locally we wouldn't have so many successful Used Books/CDs/ DVDs stores, Used Instruments stores, a storefront to make sales on e-Bay, and so many GoodWill and such types of stores where we could bring in the nice-condition stuff that we just don't want anymore so that other people would be able to use them. It's a good way to not throw away the useful stuff.

My first baby step was in buying those neat canvas bags at the grocery store. And it's been fun comparing the styles and colors of each of them, especially now that Publix, Kroger, Harris Teeter and Whole Foods all have nice canvas bags that each holds about the same amount of groceries as two and half plastic bags would have. The obsessive collector geek in me wanted at least two from each store (LOL) so I got some from each as I went shopping ... and now I am pretty much done with plastic bags. (Dedicating one or two bags specifically for eggs and raw meats in case they drip, is a good idea.)

Now that Kroger has changed from their bright blue bags -- (which I have to admit, I found not pretty) to their new black bags (with the tiny blue Kroger logo in the corner) I use those the most. Plus those have a teeny pocket inside which are really neat. I find the Harris Teeter subtle green bags the prettiest, though the Whole Foods and Publix bags are also nice and appropriately brightly green-colored (& when they're in stock, you can also find the Publix bags in khaki and black.) I highly recommend using these canvas grocery bags and taking them with you (or leave them in the trunk if you have a car, so they're handy) when you go out shopping everywhere.

My next baby step then, was separating our garbage. I started out this past Spring by just separating each type into its own bag: plastics, glass, metal and cardboard/paper. This past month I finally got each of them their own 13-gallon garbage can. Yeah, it's kinda crowded having 5 trash cans in the kitchen but on the other hand it's now very tidy. It's still a baby step since it isn't easy to get to the Davidson County recycling areas without a car, so it still all still just goes in the garbage just yet, but I feel that separating the garbage now gets me accustomed to the habit. So my next step is figuring out how to get the recyclables to where they need to be.

Can some minor composting be far behind ...?


Liz said...

Great post! I would be happy to help get your recyclables to the center. Let's figure something out:) -Liz C.

Erica Well said...


You've made my day happy. These little things can make a big difference in no time if enough Nashvillians do this sort of thing ...

Thank you, Liz!!