How much of an impact can we make? Tonight is the premiere on American TV of the Canadian Environmental movie: Garbage: the revolution starts at home. This award winning movie has already been translated in four language and is widely shared on the web through an on-line community.
This movie is a call to action to encourage grassroots movement to curb wastes. It makes you think about how much garbage we really create. The Toronto producer, Andrew Niskier asked an urban family of five to keep every scrap and garbage they created for three months. The results and the journey as presented in the movie are shocking. The on-line community invites you to create a plan to revolutionize your home and to share ideas and videos with other members. You can join the community and watch a 20 minutes preview of the movie at http://www.garbagerevolution.com.
The movie made me look closer into how much waste I do create. Altough I did not go through a full garbage audit, nor could I find a “garbage calculator”, looking at the stats provided by the US Environmental Protection Agency about the waste of average American household makes you realize the impact of individual actions. According to their survey the average household produces 2 kg/day, that is 13 kg/week or 726 kg/year. (all these excluding commercial/industrial waste) And USA are not #1 in America, Mexico’s average per household is 30% higher.
*Source: How much garbage does a person produce in a year http://www.wisegeek.com/how-much-garbage-does-a-person-create-in-one-year.htm
The most part come from packaging such as fast-food containers, office papers and disposable diapers… In my case this makes me think. I knew disposable diapers were hugely responsible for filling up landfills. However, looking a bit more into the topic, I realized that between November this year and November 2011 the new baby will be using anywhere from 8000 to 10 000 diapers. That is for one kid in my house only…. Should I be going back to old fashion washable diapers even though we know it also has huge demands in terms of water and energy, let alone time commitment?
We seem to be very conscious, at least in Canada, about the importance of recycling. But these stats and this movie invites us to aim for more. Yes, by recycling we can diminish the amount of waste but that clearly does not seem to be enough. We need to look at reusing, reducing and fundamentally changing social habits. In my case, that may even mean foregoing the modern benefits of disposable diapers.