When I first told my family that I was attempting to do a zero waste month, I don’t think any of them were all that surprised. I sent out an email declaring my endeavor and I asked that they not buy me anything new for my birthday this year.
I also dropped them a line:
“does anyone have an extra mason jar or big ass glass jar I could use to collect my trash in June?” (I was preparing both for success, by gathering materials and information for my zero waste month, and for failure, by assuming I would need a gallon-sized container to hold my mountains of trash)
My sisters, the ever supportive cheerleader-types, quickly responded that of course they have glass jars they can spare. I think they were just excited to get clutter out of the cabinets.
My mom, however, tentatively and somewhat disgustedly asked “why glass… won’t you be able to see it all?”
Obviously she’s right, it is kind of gross and there’s a reason we don’t use clear trash cans or garbage disposals. It’s nasty. And if my goal for my zero waste month was to weigh out all the trash I produce then I could very easily just put it in an opaque container and not have to suffer the sight of the trail my choices leave behind. But to me, weighing it would add another dimension or layer of obscurity to my research. I needed to see it. No bullshit. I think that’s the difference between when something weighs on your conscience and when you’re forced to look it straight in the eye and confront it.
You know what else? I take good gosh darn care of my trash. Before I put anything in my jar, I clean it. I have a weird sense of pride when it comes to my trash. Almost like “this is the part of me that I was willing to leave behind. These are the things I sacrificed for during my zero waste month that I felt, at one point or another, were important enough to break my promise. Or these are the items I was forced to acquire because I was unwilling or unable to prepare for my daily life.” There are a million excuses tucked away in my jar and I want to look at each of them every day and challenge myself to do better.
So I guess what I’m saying is, Mom, glass just looks better in instagram pics okay?