Sustainability & Ethical Waste: Week 3.

I’m writing a longer, well thought out piece currently and it’s taking several days so I thought I’d take a break from that for a moment to just get something posted for the sake of habit. You might recall that I started to focus more on sustainability at the end of May. I joke, as I am wont to do, that I only do things like this to prove I’m better than everybody else, but as I said this is a joke. I do care about being a good person / man and I don’t feel that barreling through life without any concern for what we waste is what a good man does1.

Perhaps it’s sobriety, perhaps it’s age, but I find myself sticking to these plans much more easily than I used to. I’ve dabbled in veganism and vegetarianism what feels like 100 times without making it a full week. Now, I don’t care about those two lifestyles in the slightest these days but to truly dive into a sustainable lifestyle meat is a rare luxury. Not only does its cultivation dry hump our ecosystems, have you ever bought meat from a market and not received it wrapped in plastic? I’ve only encountered one shop in my life that didn’t use plastic to wrap everything. Humorously, even “organic, non-GMO” suburban MILF food is double wrapped in polymer resin.

So it should make sense that I’ve been eating a lot less meat lately. Not zero meat and definitely not zero junk food; this is a process and people who try to be perfect on day one are usually the ones who quit immediately (like 25 year old me). I have a nasty addiction to diet soda which, of course, usually only comes in plastic. I’ve been trying to switch to homemade coffee but coffee is pretty harsh after noon2.

I believe I’ve cut down quite a lot on the amount of garbage I’m putting at the curb every week but it’s difficult to tell because I still live with a bunch of codependent, addicted narcissists who only eat takeout and consume a small island’s worth of sand in glass beer bottles every week. Those are recyclable but I’ve come to have very little faith that the people taking our recycling are not putting it in a landfill anyway.

Closet cleanout is on hold a bit because I joined a program for it that starts in July. I’ve organized everything and put aside the things that I definitely will never wear again. These will either be recycled or donated to places I can be sure will not ship them off to a third world country to be landfilled (which, it turns out, is where most of the clothing you donate ends up. Cool right?). There are services such as the American Textile Recycling Service that will take and attempt to repurpose clothing that has outlived its useful days, but I can also turn them into rags or more reusable produce bags (not my socks of course).

Most of my toiletries are recyclable or biodegradable now. I have a set of bamboo toothbrushes; although nobody has invented biodegradable bristles yet, throwing those out is much better than an entire plastic toothbrush. I have some bottle-less shampoo and I use a straight razor (which I actually have to get sharpened because I didn’t do enough research and the “American” company I bought it from just imports cheap Chinese junk, stamps their name on it, and ships a dull razor-shaped hunk of metal to you) instead of the razor subscription service I was using. I finally ran out of Old Spice this week and ordered some deodorant that comes in a biodegradable cardboard tube but it won’t arrive until next week so I’m rather foul smelling in the interim. I’ve been washing my armpits 3 times a day this week. At least I know I’m clean.

1 And also good women, I suspect.
2 Recently I listened to a lecture in which someone went over the half-life of caffeine and proved to me that drinking it past noon is a terrible idea. It’s almost certainly the reason I sleep so poorly and wake up tired every day, thus needing even more caffeine. I’ve made an effort to quit drinking it after 12PM but, as I said, it’s a process. I managed to abstain 3 days in a row last week and I felt amazing. Unfortunately, when I feel amazing, it’s cause for celebration (with caffeine). This was actually a habitual cycle with alcohol pre-sobriety; quit drinking for two days, feel great, hey might as well get drunk since I feel so good.