How my family gave up garbage for a year
Try these tips to reduce your impact on the environment
What's your impact on the environment? One element of that impact is the amount of garbage you send to the landfill. Here's a practical example of successfully pursuing a passionate purpose to minimize garbage.
The end result for a family of 2.5 people has been only one 32-gallon bin of garbage generated for an entire year. WOW! I'm proud to say this family is mine. From August 5, 2015, until July 18, 2016, we put out no trash.
We have a red-top trash bin provided by the waste management firm that indicates we're charged only when the bin is put out. What was in that trash bin after 12 months? I'll tell you later.
Four Steps to Success
FIND PASSION. Passion is found in the intersection of values with talents and gifts. What are your values? We value sustainability and saving the environment. Our talents include organizational skills, follow through, enthusiasm, willingness to try, commitment, and knowledge of how to reduce.
CONNECT WITH PURPOSE. Passion alone is aimless. It needs to be aligned with a meaningful purpose. Our passionate purpose is to minimize the impact on the environment by decreasing our trash output and influencing others to do the same.
PURSUE PASSIONATE PURPOSE. Here's the way to do it.
- Develop a Plan and a Vision. Our vision is a sustainable world. To bring this about we use the Attraction Strategy. Effective Passionate Pursuers attract what they want by holding a broad intention, while thinking, feeling, and taking action to get it. Our strategies include recycling, composting, reusing, reducing or buying less, and avoiding vendors / restaurants that use inappropriate take-out containers that are not environmentally supportive.
- Use the Connections Strategy. It takes a village. The champion (or passionate pursuer) of this effort is my husband, Richard. The supporters include our daughter and me, who recycle, compost, reduce, and reuse. Our community is part of the support network in that we have curb-size composting and recycling, as well as trash pick-up charged on a usage / quantity basis. Therefore we also have a financial incentive to reduce our trash.
- Use the Persistence Strategy. Persistence is easier when a large goal is divided into smaller sub-goals. Divide and conquer. Realize you may not be able to initially do it all. Start with a few feasible steps. Persevere. For example, one of my Girl Scouts is working on a project to save the planet one water bottle at a time. Can you stop using throw-away plastic bottles? Use a pitcher with water and cups. Use a reusable water bottle. Ask the organizations you work with to stop using throw-away water bottles.
- Use the Pack Strategy. Bring along (pack) tactics that are working and unpack those that are not. In our garage we have a station with bins for trash, recycling, compost, and reuse (where we put items that can be given away). It's really a matter of sorting carefully.
ASSESS PROGRESS. How is it going? What should be continued or changed? We like our small footprint with regard to trash. Now what's next?
Consider taking on a passionate purpose to help the environment. One way is to reduce, reuse, recycle, compost and minimize your trash.
What was in our red-top trash bin after 12 months? It was mostly cellophane and cereal box liners with a few styrofoam cups. Garbage not in and garbage not out!