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Not Throwing Away Anything

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Posted on : 11:39 AM | By : Nic | In : , ,

I was just reading an article on Time magazine's site about a guy nicknamed 'Sustainable Dave' who still makes trash but just doesn't throw anything away... he wants to see how much garbage he makes and so he's piling it up neatly in his basement.  


I think that's a great idea, and similar to the plastic-free lady who has been piling up her plastic in her living room (but who hasn't posted since January so hopefully she's still doing that).  Visual representations are good, sort of similar to this video version about plastic water bottles:


I think though, that we could do a little better than simply looking at the trash and feeling the shock value.  I know exactly how much garbage we make... 1 medium trash bag per week, plus some recycling. Which isn't too bad compared to some, but still too much.  

Back at the beginning of the 20th century, language didn't include words for this type of activity.  From Webster's 1828 Dictionary:

GARBAGE, n. [I know not the component parts of this word.] The bowels of an animal; refuse parts of flesh; offal.

TRASH, n. 1. Any waste or worthless matter. Who steals my money, steals trash.
2. Loppings of trees; bruised canes, &c. In the West Indies,the decayed leaves and stems of canes are called field-trash; the bruised or macerated rind of canes is called cane-trash; and both are called trash.
3. Fruit or other matter improper for food, but eaten by children, &c. It is used particularly of unripe fruits.
4. A worthless person. [Not proper.]
5. A piece of leather or other thing fastened to a dog's neck to retard his speed.

(Just take note of the example for #1, and also the ideas about fruit from #3.)

RUB'BISH, n. [from rub; properly, that which is rubbed off; but not now used in this limited sense.]
1. Fragments of buildings; broken or imperfect pieces of any structure; ruins.
He saw the towns one half in rubbish lie.
2. Waste or rejected matter; any thing worthless.
3. Mingled mass; confusion.

CONSUMER, n. One who consumes, spends, wastes or destroys; that which consumes.

Isn't it amazing how the term Consumer can change from one who destroys, to a person who purchases goods and services for personal use.

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