I Am Part of the Problem.

I have lived the default life in sticks and bricks, and I have visited many friends and family over the years since we hit the road. I can tell you from personal experience that as full-time RVers, we generate less trash than those living in traditional houses. Yet as much as we eat healthy and as hard as we try to be smart we shoppers, we still create a surprising amount of trash for living in such a small space.

Much of the trash we generate is produce scraps. We do not buy much processed foods, but everything comes in packaging. More and more, that packaging is plastic. And that is becoming increasingly hard to avoid. Rene said the other day, “I’m not going to buy plastic any more!” Wouldn’t that be great? Good luck with that. We will buy eggs from happy chickens raised on a certain organic farm, but their egg carton is plastic. Ugh, the irony there.

At least we chose not to breed. No need to get defensive now, it’s a simple fact that the amount of trash a household generates exponentially grows in proportion to the number of mouths to feed. If we did, however, I would like to think we would have raised our offspring to appreciate the planet. Some parents, however, apparently get them started young on the path of lethargy…

breeder trash

Breeder Trash

And don’t get me started about recycling. Say whatever you want to make yourself feel better, but recycling is bullshit. It doesn’t work. It is too expensive, for starters. So sad really, when you consider that such a fate of our environment is managed so poorly due to economics, but that does not mean we cannot do the least we can do. To that, I say: I am part of the problem. 

So I do my part, like picking up trash whenever hiking outdoors. I’ll never understand those who venture to enjoy the beautiful outdoors, then trash it. Just look at the amount of trash we collected during a two-night stay near Jawbone Canyon – a popular OHV area in the California desert. No comment.

OHV Trash

OHV Trash

Why is it always the cheap beer and fast food fans who seem to litter the most? Do we dare open up that rant hole again? And what about those bad apples who spoil it for all us RVers in the bunch?

Weekender Trash

Weekender Trash

Apparently we never shared this video of me ranting about that dump station clean-up here in the blog. I just found it on our Live Work Dream Youtube Channel

Not trying to preach here, I admit I am still a part of the problem myself. Here’s The Current episode I mention in my rant. But I digress, yet again.

We live in a small space, and over time we tend to accumulate things. Stay anywhere a couple months, and we may have to throw away a box of items worthless to anyone. Nothing like our massive Goodwill donation pile the last time we purged our sticks and bricks. But still, we appeased the Dumpster Gods.

RVer Trash

RVer Trash

Don’t worry, I kept that perfectly good broken milk crate. It has a home in the back of our truck where i placed it the day before we hit the road 12+ years ago.

Manufacturer Trash

Manufacturer Trash

Sometimes we need to replace parts, like the water filter for our hose, which we tend to use far too long. But just how many flexible hose end adapters do I need? And how else am I going to use Teflon tape for my plumbing projects without contributing to the plastic waste problem. (And yes, I’ve used the liquid, which comes in a plastic container.) To this I say, manufacturers are part of the problem. A big part, as they feed feed the consumer monster.

You Are Part of the Problem.

You may recycle. You may re-use. You may pocket-mulch. But you have to admit, you generate trash. We all do. It fills our land, and great garbage patches float across our oceans. Sure it creates jobs, as it fills the streets every week, but where will it all go eventually?

This one little phrase helps me rationalize the situation, every time I reach for store shelf – or the trash can. Repeat after me: I am part of the problem.

The next time you consider buying whatever product in a large plastic bottle with the convenient disposable measuring cap, or the product in the degradable carton, admit you are part of the problem. Deciding between buying the individually plastic packaged goodies, sealed for your protection, or making a batch of home baked cookies from staples you bought in bulk, say it: I am part of the problem.

Before long, you will find yourself with a small collection of twist-ties and rubber bands that come in very handy right when you need them! And a large collection of plastic produce bags you can use to pick up more trash on your next walk

ASS Trash

ASS Trash

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5 Responses to “I Am Part of the Problem.”

  1. Ditto on not breeding! 🙂

    Ever see the film “Idiocracy”? There’s a future scene of where all the trash goes…

  2. Well said on all counts, especially the statement that economics is the driving factor. A number of towns and cities have stopped their recycling programs because it’s more expensive to recycle. As a kid I grew up with most things packaged in paper or cardboard. Egg cartons were made of cardboard that would decompose rather quickly, picnics were on paper plates, paper bowls, drinks were in paper cups, then the petro-chemical industry developed styrofoam, which decomposes slowly and don’t get me started on water sold in small plastic bottles, or people who can’t drink from a glass and need a plastic straw which is wrapped in plastic.

    We are all part of the problem. But, it appears that small changes are being made. I shipped one of Nancy’s mounted and framed prints to my sister last week via UPS. I wrapped it in some bubble wrap that we had saved from items we received, but I didn’t have enough. I expected the clerk to fill the box with styrofoam peanuts, but she said they don’t use them anymore and placed air filled plastic bags in the box. Still plastic but less of an environmental impact than styrofoam peanuts. Today, I realized I could have used the contents of my shredder. Again, we are all part of the problem.

    Maybe someday, those mobile shredding trucks will make a deal with the local UPS stores to give them their shredding material. Sounds like a win win to me.

    We are all part of the problem and I hope more businesses and individuals become part of the solution.

  3. It always makes me happy to hear from other childfree folks. And it makes me laugh to see other people referring to parents as breeders.

    It’s true, we are saving the planet more through that one choice than anything else!

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