I’ve struggled with trashy thoughts for a very long time, so today I’m going to come clean and sort out this whole mess. Try to bear with me.
Growing up on a farm, I was quite the wild child. Running barefoot with tangled hair and dirty clothes, I had a tendency to find myself in places I didn’t belong.
No one wanted me to wade around in the pond, but it was fun to use my butterfly net to catch the giant bullfrogs living there. I wasn’t supposed to crawl down into the well-pit either, but I
couldn’t resist occasionally visiting the adorable salamanders hiding inside. And, I honestly wish I had a dollar for every time a family member demanded that I climb down from a tree, or from the barn rafters. If that were the case, I would now be a wealthy woman.
So, being equal parts curiosity and imagination, there wasn’t an inch of our 310 acres I didn’t explore, and thinking back on that time, I learned my family had a secret – one that all their neighbors probably had as well. I’m talking about refuse. Rubbish. Yes, trash.
With each generation, more and more single-use items entered peoples lives, and out there in the boonies no garbage truck showed up once a week to whisk it all away. So, while the passerby would see lovely farmhouses, trimmed lawns, and tidy rows of crops, deep in the “back forty” we were hiding a big mess.
My parents and grandparents always had
And then came the age of plastic. Butter tubs, milk jugs,
You could even save the trees by choosing plastic bags over
The mound of trash grew faster than ever before, and when the city garbage routes extended our way, the family quickly signed up, grateful that their trash problem had come to an end.
But, did it?
At some point in my young life, an eye-opening thought occurred to me. The garbage wasn’t piling up on my family’s land anymore… but it was still piling up somewhere, right? Then, one day in my twenties I heard a magical word. Recycling!
Of course, old habits didn’t change in a day. It has been a long process to slowly evolving in awareness, learn new behaviors, and develop consistency so we can lessen the footprint we leave behind. Though I desired change, at first I wasn’t sure where to start. And my baby steps were often short lived, due to a lack of consistency, or life changes that forced me back to square one. Thankfully, this area is full of opportunities to help people move in the right direction.
We are blessed to have recycling pickup at our doors for many items. I read the information from our city, and make sure to sort them into the proper bins. Things that aren’t included, such as batteries, light bulbs, and plastic bags, can be dropped off at stores and collection locations in the area, so I started taking these with me when heading out to run errands.
Feeling pretty good about this new way of life, it seemed the next logical step was to cut down on the single use items in our home as much as possible. When Covid-19 hit, paper products became scarce for a while, so I cut up old t-shirts to slow our need for paper towels–a practice which I have continued since. I also did some shopping, and found reusable replacements for several single-use items. Shopping bags are sold almost everywhere, so I bought a bunch of them to keep in the trunk of our car. Small cotton drawstring bags come in handy for fruits and veggies. Both silicone covers, and squares of fabric coated in beeswax will nicely seal leftovers for storage in the fridge. And I started breaking down bulk purchases into airtight containers for the freezer, and repurposed glass jars for dry goods, greatly downsizing our use of ziplock bags.
Last summer, things went a step farther, when we received a used compost bin. I replaced the missing lid, and build a heavy screen to cover the bottom opening. The buckets of scraps and handfuls of plant clippings we add each week have again downsized the amount of waste leaving our home, and my small gardening efforts in the upcoming spring will benefit as well.
What comes next in this journey? I don’t know. With the challenges of social distancing, life has turned very “trashy” this year, due to all the mail-order packaging materials. Not wanting to make matters worse, my husband and I agreed we wouldn’t add to the problem by wrapping our Christmas gifts in holiday paper. It’s not a big thing, but it proves we have grown into people who look for opportunities to change.
So, enough about me. Are you making any efforts to “go green”? What successes or challenges have you experienced? I’d love to hear your ideas!
Thank you for stopping by. Wishing you the very best through the holiday season and always! 🙂
STILL MIND MINISTRIES is located in the beautiful city of London, Ontario. We aim to help people achieve their Spiritual-wellness goals through a variety of individual services and community outreach, offering mindfulness groups, spiritual-wellness counseling, guest speaking, Reiki, essential oils, and officiant services for weddings and other spiritual ceremonies, as well as connecting people to our community with info on local events and volunteer opportunities. To learn more, we invite you to visit our website.
Blessings to you!