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August 14, 2013

What Can We Do About Junk?

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I am amazed by how much waste our household consumes in just a week. And we're only two people! Well, technically, two and a third.

Living in a flat hasn't made it much easier to recycle - there's just no space to keep a bunch of different bins lurking around to fill with trash, so before I put out the black bag, I sort through the bin for paper and plastic, and we have a worm farm, but really, it just does not keep up with the amount of stuff we throw out.

Most of it is plastic - everything comes in a plastic package! And I've noticed recently that a lot of the plastic packaging has no sign of whether or not it can be recycled. That potato package? Is it recyclable? Who knows?!

And there's also no indication of whether or not I'll be consuming genetically-modified organisms with my potato salad today.

As people living in a capitalist society, we depend an awful lot on the honesty and integrity of the people we buy our products and produce from. How can you have a sign on the back of your crisp packet urging people not to litter, but you don't say how you can recycle your packaging or use packaging that is recyclable? And companies that use plastic bottles for their products en masse: maybe you should employ people to pick them up from alongside the rivers and lakes that are littered with them? Why do large corporations take no responsibility for the products they're spreading around the world? Why is the onus always on the consumer to be responsible?

It's like government organisations asking us to put off our geysers and close our dripping taps when street lights are left on all day and Joburg Water leaves a burst pipe spilling onto the street for days.

But I know why this is: because the majority of society is just happy to carry on the way things are. Even me. :( What should we do?

(Image credit: Wikimedia Commons\Hyena)

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