Saturday, October 18, 2014

Waste Not; Want Not (a true cliche if there ever was one)

It is a sad day for me. After a long fight for survival and several surgeries (with green embroidery thread and shoe goo), my beloved hiking sandals are no longer able to go on. They have been my constant companion for just shy of two years and, while I know our time together was relatively short, they took me to places of enchantment and challenge, of mud and rock, of… well, to paraphrase Neruda: silence, water, hope; struggle, iron, and volcanoes. My sandals were my passport to adventure. However, life goes on regardless of losing that which we love.

A somewhat inglorious ending but off to the dump they go …

This eulogy brings to mind a CBC radio show I listened to last week: What a Waste. Hosted by Torah Kachur, a PhD molecular biologist from the University of Alberta, it played once a week throughout the summer. Click here to listen to the recorded podcasts or go to the main page and click on any of the icons for a pictographic summary of specific waste issues, fascinating (if not disturbing) facts, and possible solutions.

Did you know, for example, that:

  • On average, humans produce up to 2 liters of urine and 2 pounds of feces every day
  • More people have a cell phone than a toilet
  • E-waste makes up 1% of the landfill but accounts for 70% of the toxic chemicals in them including dioxin, lead, mercury and polybrominated biphenyls
  • More than 1/3 of the food produced in Canada is wasted
  • A person needs between 20-50L a day for washing, cooking and cleaning; Canadians use, on average, 329L per day

Also check out What a Waste’s special labour day broadcast, Waste Warriors. Listen to how one teacher got her middle school students to collect their waste (over the course of a day) into a plastic bag to increase awareness of what they toss; how an Ontario family recycles all their grey water into flush water for the toilet, thereby reducing the waste of drinking water; and where you can find fix-it cafes where people are taught how to repair their electronic items rather than throwing them away.

Which brings me back to my sandals. While it’s doubtful I can recycle these treasures I can, perhaps, reuse some of the structural elements, like the nylon straps and the plastic do-hickies that guided those straps, for some other repair or beautfication. 

My hiking shorts, a continual work-in-progress, might just be needing what once seemed lost. 

 If you like this blog, please "like" my FaceBook page and get notices on your timeline when a new article is posted.

No comments:

Post a Comment