Changing my lifestyle and consumer habits is something I do for me and the Earth. I’m not walking around preaching to other people they need to change their habits and we all need to do our part; though I do believe this to be true, I do not have the right to push others to change if they aren’t ready to do so. It ain’t my style! With that said, I do sometimes, quietly to myself, shake my head at others’ habits and decisions when it comes to environmental business. Today’s theme: “Holiday Trash”; what gave it away?!
Yesterday was Valentine’s Day – a day I do not value or tend to celebrate, which my partner and I have agreed on; why limit celebrating love to one day a year? With Valentine’s Day comes the obligatory card, chocolates, flowers, and the pink and red purchases displayed beautifully (or tacky-ly) in every store you walk in to. It’s almost blinding, the sea of red and pink hearts and stuffed animals.
This year we were celebrating two friends’ birthdays on Valentine’s Day, and were invited for food, games, and celebration. The house was decorated; it looked lovely and I was impressed by the effort. Red and pink balloons twirled and swirled from the ceilings in clusters, around door frames, and from light fixtures. Paper streamers twisted through the air from one corner to the other, making an upside dome over our heads. Paper heart coasters, plastic heart cups, and plastic heart chandeliers surrounded us. The wooden dining table was covered in a plastic, heart-themed table cloth, and strewn across were plastic, marble-like hearts for an extra decorative touch.
We had finished eating and needed space to play some games. Someone went to clear the table; the table cloth was taken, with plastic hearts in tow, wrapped up so as not to spill the hearts, and marched to the garbage can, never to be seen again…
This was a bit of a shock to me, and it reminded me again of our single-use society. The items were purchased, the time was put in to decorate the room, and in five seconds the table cloth vanishes with fifty plastic 3D hearts in the garbage can and is never used again. Next year they might be re-purchased, and thrown “away” again. I thought about how many people would be doing the same thing. How many of us actually fold up the items carefully, put them in a box, and use them again the year after? Probably not many, as many of us do not have the space to store all of our holiday items. I started thinking about reusable alternatives.
Part of my Zero Journey has been to refuse a lot of these single-use items that would contribute to our landfill and the millions of microplastic particles floating around in our water sources, damaging our ecosystems, and polluting the planet. The thing is, garbage doesn’t go “away”. It just goes somewhere else. Out of sight, out of mind. Our garbage is taken outside, and taken away by the garbage pick-up guys. We don’t see it again. We think it has gone away. But the beautifully poisonous thing about plastic is that is doesn’t break down – it only breaks apart, into teeny, tiny particles that seep into our groundwater and other sources. It’s a scary thought. Have you ever heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? It’s basically a floating island of garbage, namely plastics, floating around in our oceans. We are contributing to this. The world is one big circle of connected systems, and everything we do affects some part.
That is my rant! Every day I am practicing my creativity and trying to come with happier and healthier alternatives to our single-use, plastic creations, that are so prevalent in our daily life. Please do post your ideas on sustainable, reusable ideas for holiday decorations.