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Green Junction: Do you know Rob Greenfield? by Julie Peller Ph.D.
A gentleman named Rob Greenfield is often described as an eco-activist. Last year, he decided to compile and wear about half the average amount of waste produced per person each day over the course of 30 days. Therefore, he added about 2.5 pounds of waste each day around his body and called it his trash suit. The picture from People Magazine is copied below! By the end of the month, he was carrying about 75 pounds of waste, which represented less than the average amount generated by an American each month.
Societies continue to function with a throwaway, or linear, mentality. This suggests that garbage disposal is too cheap, disposable items are too cheap and the long-term consequences of all this waste are not fully considered. Are we not concerned about problems we create for our youth and future generations? In general, we fail to contemplate the problems associated with long term effects. In the case exemplified by Rob Greenfield, can we acknowledge that producing 75+ pounds of garbage each month is just plain bad?
Here are ten ways to reduce garbage (especially plastics): 1) selecting foods with less packaging, which includes reducing purchases of fast foods; 2) carrying your reusable cups, bags, utensils, and straws; 3) utilizing cleaning agents that are supplied as tablets for reusable bottles; 4) using soap bars and other solid cleaners instead of diluted liquids that are sold in single-use containers; 5) composting food scraps (but not meats or other protein-based foods) and eating less meat; 6) purchasing higher quality clothing and textiles made from natural materials, not fast fashion; 7) buying less stuff; 8) patronizing eco-friendly businesses that embrace reuse of materials; 9) avoiding the lure to buy lots of stuff for children (so many kids are bombarded with junk!); and 10) reusing as much as possible.
Please add your suggestion for reducing waste! Challenge your family and friends to cut your waste by 10 or 20 or 30%! Take time to reflect on how the conveniences of today may be harmful tomorrow.
Julie Peller, Ph.D., is an environmental chemist (Professor of Chemistry at Valparaiso University ). Julie has been writing a weekly column for the past ~6 years called the Green Junction and is helping to move the call of Laudato Si to action forward. Her Research Interests are advanced oxidation for aqueous solutions, water quality analyses, emerging contaminants, air quality analyses, Lake Michigan shoreline challenges (Cladophora, water, and sediment contaminants), and student and citizen participation in environmental work.