Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Good Luck

The Toronto couple whose goal is to produce zero garbage in 2007 (see previous post) face a new challenge.

Ms. McGaughey is pregnant. To confirm her pregnancy, she wasn’t able to use a pregnancy kit.

"How can I reuse a plastic stick that has my urine on it?" she asked.

Good point.

The hurdles this couple must face on a daily basis are mind-boggling. Ms. McGaughey is experiencing morning-sickness — and not just in the morning. She’s been downing ginger ale which comes in recyclable plastic containers but finds even these containers unacceptable. She wants to find places that sell ginger ale from fountains so she can use her reusable cup.

This is one committed lady. When I suffered from morning sickness, it was all about me, not the amount of garbage I produced.

“Bring on the ginger ale, bring on the crackers, bring me anything to relieve this hell!”

I should feel guilty about that but I don’t. I didn’t know any better then.

I know better now, I’m trying harder and I’m feeling the guilt. (And, no, I am not pregnant. If I were, I’d be thinking loony bin, not green recyclable bin.)

While I have to admire this couple’s goal, I don’t know whether to applaud, moan or laugh. Zero garbage?

I’m thinking further along down the road — glass baby bottles (doable), cloth diapers (doable) but no baby wipes? Yikes. Okay, okay, I know reusable baby wipes exist.

There’s going to be a great deal of water used in that household. I hope they own an energy efficient washing machine. Or maybe they do laundry by hand? Double yikes. (Re: those reusable baby wipes…)

"A lot of people have asked me if I think it's possible to do what I'm doing with a family," Ms. McGaughey says. "I've always said yes, so now I have to put my money where my mouth is."

I wish her the best of luck. Truly.

I also have a message for her: Do not feel guilty if you produce some garbage once that little baby arrives. You are already so ahead of the game compared to the rest of us.

Having said this, my boys have a massive clean-up job in the basement today. Party time here last night. There’s going to be garbage….but also lots of recyclable beer bottles! (Note — all attendees were of legal drinking age.)


oreneta said...

I read a study some place, unfortunately I forget where, that did an analysis of the varied sins of plastic and cloth nappies....their conclusion was that it depended on where you were. The environmental impact of disposal versus machine washing related to the resources in your area.

The study unfortunately did not look into the impact of the creation of these two products...plastics, bleaches and the forest industry vs. cotton manufacturing and the horrendous amount of crop spraying plus bleaching etc etc etc.

I have to admit, if the nappies have a half-life of a millenium or so, I find it hard to imagine a little machine washing could be worse ANYWHERE.

Jackie said...

I wish them luck too.

Having done the cloth diapers bit, making our own baby food, finding enviro friendly detergents and avoiding over-packaged "stuff" etc, etc.- I know that it can be done but walking gently on this earth is far more expensive than it seems - both time and money.

Yes, we should all try to cut back on garbage but why can't the corporations/manufacturers help? Do we really need almost everything we buy wrapped in bubble wrap, styrofoam, and plastic etc. I think food should be packaged for Health and Safety resons, but do ink cartridges and electronic devices need to be protected in such tough plastic that opening them requires the precision of a surgeon! Let's ban all plastic and teflon - wouldn't that start a lobbying effort by those that make the suff. Since teflon and plastics actually contribute to health problems of all kinds, why are they still around?

Anonymous said...

I admire her commitment but think she is a little delusional if she thinks zero garbage is doable. It would be more realistic if she maybe pared down her garbage by half or even three quarters.

Where is she having the baby? Because if it is in a hospital she is in for a surprise at how much garbage they produce in the maternity ward. I wonder if she will ask the nurses to wrap up her placenta so that she can take it home and compost it.

Beth said...

oreneta: Sometimes all we can do is choose between the lesser of two evils.

jackie: Totally agree. And not everyone has the time or money to "walk gently" on the earth. Except, of course, the corporations - if they chose to...

trish: Bet it's a home birth. Still, that placenta. Your mind went further than mine as to future predicaments.

Beth said...

produce NO GARBAGE?!! They do not want to come to my house...we have garbage out the wazoo....

Nomad said...

I think you guys are all right on, I have been rolling around a post about doable ideas like this as well, and I think we all need to put pressure on manufactureres to just be more economical with packaging, and the goverment needs to implement some legislation.

It seems that right now packaging requirements are driven by the criterion of sales and advertsising, product perception etc. with little or no regard to environmental friendliness.

We do buy mostly whole unpackaged foods but I have been looking at what does come into our house and I know it could be done better.
I am feeling very gung-ho to make changes, it feels like we really need to...

Beth said...

nomad: I too look at what comes into this house and I am appalled. I feel slightly better if it can be recycled but I've been reading articles where even that program isn't working as it should...
Boycotting would be nice but where to start?

Beth said...

beth: Tell it like it is, kiddo! Love your honesty and being so upfront about it. Kids=garbage.

The Guy Who Writes This said...

I used to be able to fill the pick-up truck four times a year, and the way it is acumulating in bin where I store it for the next trip, I'm hoping not to see the dump until September, which will be one year from the last time I went.

Beth said...

guy: I'm impressed. You're good - really good.
(This is just garbage-garbage in your bin, right? Not recyclables? Do you compost?)

Kate said...

Interesting post! About once a day, I feel guilty about all the garbage my family produces each day: baby food containers, wipes, diapers, more laundry than ever before. But, then I forgive myself. I'll work more on cutting the trash, when we're sleeping through the night. :)

Beth said...

kate: Ah, those years. Hope the "sleeping through the night" comes soon. Lots of time for guilt once you're fully functioning again!

Attila The Mom said...

Amazingly enough, we have to pay extra to have our recyclables picked up here in our little mountain community.

Anything paper or cardboard gets used to start a fire in the woodstove.

We take all our plastic shopping bags to the Community Cupboard.

And yet we still have an enormous amount of garbage. [sigh]

Beth said...

So, I'm thinking "zero garbage" is not an option for you this year... Nor for us.
(Best efforts - reduces some of the guilt.)