Thursday, January 7, 2010

Further Incentive

When I first began to think about this project, I saw two clear advantages. Saving money, of course,was important, but tied closely was the opportunity to further reduce our environmental impact. Ever since the seventies, with the advent of Earth Day, the mantra "Reduce,Reuse, Recycle" has been pounded into our collective subconscious. But do we think about it between April twenty-seconds? Recycling is easy in communities that have procedures in place for collection and sorting. It makes us feel we do our part. Unfortunately, we have no such system in place here, so I combat garbage in other ways: I ALWAYS use my reusable bags when I shop- including at thrift stores- to help end the insanity of plastic bags. I compost all vegetable food and garden waste, and donate my aluminum to Habitat for Humanity where the recycling profits build a home a year for local families. I also spend part of Christmas morning re-rolling large sheets of wrapping paper and the wired ribbon from our presents for re-use. My daughter, especially, has a fondness for certain papers and ribbon patterns, and looks forward to their reappearance beneath the tree each year as much as she looks forward to any of our other Christmas traditions.

When my kids were small, the packaging left on the living room floor when all the gifts were open created a heap equal to or larger than the mountain the gifts themselves had formed around the tree. And sadly, the majority of that was hauled out to the dumpster and now lies still intact in a deep unmarked grave somewhere in the desert. All because some marketer somewhere thought that Barbie had to be positioned in just this way to appeal to my little consumer. Three layers of clear plastic, sixteen zip ties and four hundred wire twists later, Barbie would never assume that position again.

Or wear both of those shoes.

Today as I consider my local options for shopping, I recognize a third distinct advantage to my plan. Not only is "thrifting" thrifty and green, but money spent at many of the stores here in town will support very worthy causes. Besides our two Goodwill stores, we have two Salvation Army stores, a homeless mission resale store, a Hospice Thrift Shop, a Humane Society Resale, and a Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

I'd sooner give my money to any of them than pay for packaging!

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