Making a List

December 16, 2010 at 11:13 am Leave a comment

Hundreds of years hence, archaeologists will be digging through our middens to find clues about our culture.

Checking out our trashed magazines, they’ll conclude that ours was a culture obsessed with eating and losing weight (eight of the top ten best selling magazines in the US include recipes, dieting tips, or both). Judging by paper wrappings and bags in the landfill, they’ll assume that fast food restaurants were a primary food source that provided an excellent diet full of nutrients and anti-oxidants since images on our magazine covers indicate robust health.  

In addition to paper, archaeologists will find food scraps, medications, French Roast coffee grounds, bottles and cans. They’ll find plastic. They’ll wonder why we harvested pet by-product and preserved it for all eternity in a plastic bag.

Excavators will uncover baubles and trinkets, chicken bones and shards of clutter that we bought and then discarded with the change in the fashion season.

Future archaeologists will find metals such as aluminum and steel, and wonder why we buried it again after having gone through all the trouble and cost of mining it in the first place. “What were they thinking?” they’ll ask and feature 20th-Century-born humans on their equivalent of History’s Mysteries.

This shopping season, I intend to reduce the clues I leave in our landfills. I won’t buy clutter or items that go directly into the trash can. Garbage can liners have been crossed off my shopping list. Since I haven’t figured out what to do with chicken bones (can’t compost them, can’t feed them to the dog) I won’t buy chicken bones either. I should probably cross spinach off the list as well, since it only detours to the crisper (where it goes quietly brown) on its way to the trash can. My new year’s resolution: make a list and check it twice before I add an item to my shopping cart.

Check List

  • Check your buying habits. Pass up the Buy One, Get One sales if you don’t need two. Or, Buy One, Give One to someone else who needs a 100-count bottle of aspirin.
  • Check the clutter factor of items before you buy them. Will the item end up in the garage or back of a closet before Spring Cleaning time comes ‘round? Resist the urge to buy another holiday coffee mug set, even if it is marked down 75 percent.
  • Check the expiration date. Don’t buy anything you can’t use before it expires.
  • Check the label. When practical, buy products made with recycled content. Some companies make common kitchen items such as cutting boards and cooking utensils with bamboo (a renewable resource) or recycled plastic.
  • Check the packaging. If a favorite two-ounce jar of hide-the-wrinkles eye cream comes with two pounds of packaging, check to see if the packaging is recyclable.
  • Check the pantry and refrigerator before you grocery shop. Maybe you already have cream of mushroom soup that you impulsively added to your cart at the last Buy One, Get One sale back in September.
  • Check the Web. Find out where to recycle almost anything (old appliances I’m replacing with energy-efficient models, tech toys I’m upgrading, those skinny jeans I’ll never wiggle into again, that stationary bike that hasn’t moved in two years, holiday coffee mug sets) at Earth 911.

Entry filed under: Cherie Graves, Tips. Tags: , , , , , .

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