Slow Trash?

February 24, 2012

Most of you have probably never heard of SWANA, The Solid Waste Association of North America. Until an hour ago I hadn’t either, but it turns out that for fifty years now they have been “the leading professional association in the solid waste field.”

Recently Jennifer Santry at the High Country Conservation Center in Summit County, Colorado wrote a piece about a SWANA conference she attended called The Road To Zero Waste run by SWANA’s Recycling & Special Waste Division.

Most people would think a conference titled The Road To Zero Waste would be about how to more effectively get rid of our garbage: composting, recycling and turning waste into fuel. However this was not the case.

“Surprisingly,” Jennifer wrote, “my take away message had more to do with the purchase than the garbage.” In other words Slow Trash. Instead of focusing on how to make our trash into something useful, concentrate on creating less waste.

In the article Jennifer wrote “Slow trash challenges you to slow down consumption and connect with the purchase. My favorite line in the article is, “slow trash is all about taking a snapshot of the life-cycle of a particular item.”

Think about that for a moment. (Or two since our theme here is slow.) Think about where the product was made and by whom. Was he or she paid a fair wage? Did it have to be shipped from across the globe using tons of fuel? How long will you use this item? When you are done with it can you pass it along to a friend?

The conference was here in Austin and Jennifer gave Austin’s Future Craft Collective a big thumps up for their “Don’t Shop; Swap” event where Austinites can swap clothes instead of going out and buying a new wardrobe. She also touted the fact that the landfill here has a last chance pile for people to go through.

3 Responses to “Slow Trash?”

  1. Good thoughts Nicole. Time for me to rethink again


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