Life is a highway

Monday, December 12, 2011

Landfill for laziness.

I am going to start by patting myself on the back. I work very hard to reduce, reuse, and recycle, and often have friends follow in my footsteps (even if they do it just because I am watching). I often feel so guilty when I get lazy and throw out a container because I don't feel like washing it that I get out of bed in the middle of the night to retrieve it, clean it, and recycle it.

Because of my love for the environment and passion to keep it abundant, it pains me to see products come out for the pure purpose of fueling laziness.

People like to disguise these products of laziness as 'convenience'. The definition of convenience is 'easy', and only people who are lazy take the easy way out. Are there not enough examples every day showing us that this easy way out hurts us? Those around us? Even something as simple as the 'lazy mans load' when carrying in groceries; no, you are not that strong, you are just that lazy, and now those eggs are broken... what a waste of money... and a life for the chicken caged to do give them to you (because I will assume you do not buy free range).

I am talking about such products as Swiffer (before the washable pad - though I am sure most people still do not use this if given the choice of the disposable ones), K-cup coffee flavors (you are to lazy to take a scoop out a can? So you buy pre-measured flavors? That's a whole new level of selfish), and paper plates (although the water usage for cleaning actual plates is up for debate, I doubt the people using paper plates for small gatherings are thinking about that rather then the clean-up afterwards). These are just three examples that have bothered me lately. Watching people with 'busy lives' choose disposable over reusable simply because they can't be bothered to take one extra step. Well guess what. The Americas are not only the most wasteful countries in the world, they are also the fattest; maybe it's in everyone's best interest to take that extra step.

However, I will confess, I had to sit here for a minute and think of those three products, because the purpose of this blog entry was not actually to talk about laziness, it was to talk about vanity. Being lazy is one thing, but being wasteful because you are THAT into yourself that you cannot possibly take a point off the beauty scale for a day. It is simply unfathomable.

With this I am talking purely about two things at the moment; sticky lint removers and wrapping paper.

Let me begin with the first one: Sticky lint removers.
These were developed because some people decided that it was unacceptable to leave the house with lint or hair on their jacket or shirt. They must have thought 'I am simply too important and too classy to leave the house looking like I own a pet or do not vacuum the air in my house every 15 minutes, so I am going to fake it and remove all of the things that float around from my attire so that people are not put off by my natural self'. That is what they were thinking right? I mean, what else could have brought about a disposable sticky paper that is used once to remove nearly-invisible particles and then spend the rest of eternity in a landfill? On that note, if you think that you are TRULY that special, then there are non disposable lint brushes that do just as decent of a job with maybe 1% more effort. Why not add some toning to that body you work so hard to keep immaculate?

Onto wrapping paper (and other packaging).
For some reason it has become accustomed to present beautiful packaging and wrapping with gifts. People seem to frown upon 'ugly' looking gifts, no matter what the item is under the paper. I have seen people dig through shelves to find the product that they want in which the packaging does not have a dent. Just the other day it was pointed out to me that the cardboard holding the gift I was about to purchase had some marks on it, as if suggesting I find another one. But the item itself was in perfect condition and would continue to be so until that same 'marked' cardboard had been ripped off and, hopefully, recycled a few days later. Stores literally return items and/or sell them at discounted prices because the exterior packaging keeping the product safe has been slightly damaged or marked in some way. Are we that selfish and vain that we need even the cardboard to be perfect for us to grace it with our precious hands?
n.b: (On the same shopping trip, a lady walking in front of me dropped the wrapper from the chocolate taste test we had both just indulged in. It was not an accidental drop, but one of those ones where she looked around and then opened her hand... onto the floor... in a store. I picked it up and placed it into the garbage can 1 aisle down. It baffles me how self absorbed some people are.

And wrapping paper itself. What is wrong with wrapping said gift in recycled newspaper? It covers the gift so that it is a secret. Is that not its purpose? You can not see through news paper, it does no worse of a job at concealing the sound of the item shaking inside then does sparkly silver paper, and it doesn't matter if you tape the wrong place and have to pull it off since you don't have to worry about the image looking distorted.
This Christmas my boyfriend and I used recycled packing paper to wrap our gifts and used pencil crayons to draw our own designs on; I even glued on some sparkles. Not only is this environmentally friendly, but ads a more personal touch to the spirit of Christmas.
I have used some wrapping paper in the past, I'll admit, but as it stands now I will never do so again, not when there is perfectly functional newspaper and other recycled papers to be used.
I understand the beauty of presents under a Christmas tree, but markers and pencil crayons can do almost as good of a job.

On a side note, on the topic of paper, I once saw a lady in the bathroom pump that paper towel dispenser a good 10 times; that's about 3 feet of paper. Unless she is made of a sponge and absorbed all of the water from the tap I am not sure how she thought she could possibly need that much paper towel to dry her hands. Needless to say I pumped it once just to make up for it and went back to dinner with damp hands. Funnily enough... my hands air dried in moments, what a concept.

In conclusion,
I feel that we, as humans, are getting far to lazy and/or full of ourselves and need to step back and see what these detrimental attributes are doing to our beloved earth. I know it has been said many times before, but, it's the only one we got. No matter how important you think you are, you are not. Not compared the vast scale of the universe and the many more important things there are to worry about.

So lets all take a moment and think about what we use frequently that is for the sole purpose of comfort and convenience and maybe upgrading to a reusable version of it, if it needs to be used at all. I for one will make a conscious effort to hold my glass under the tap until it completely shuts off (old tap) so that no water is wasted.

What about you?