It is Saturday Morning and I am sorting this week’s recycling and trash while my current mix of a new Pure Kirtan single plays in the background. I haven’t listened to it in a few days but I feel I have made the lead vocals too loud. I walk up to my control surface and turn the lead vocal fader down just a little bit. I walk back to my recycling and continue sorting, happy with where the lead vocal is sitting in the mix.
The micro decisions I make in my mixes only effect the people who listen to our music but the micro decisions our family makes about our consumption has a potentially wider rippling effect. Here is an example of an economic ripple of our zero-waste lifestyle.
Making significantly less waste means the good man at the recycling center doesn’t get my $3 per bag every week (my last bag was taken to the trash 10 weeks ago). Our family a few years ago would make at least 1 or 2 30-gallon bags of trash a week. $6 X 52 weeks = $312. Our family now, at least since September 3, 2016 (its February 25, 2017) we has spent $6 (that’s 23 cents a week).
Not only are we not spending money to dispose of the trash but also we are actively not purchasing the products that produce the trash in the first place (read the Five R’s.) Reusing our own containers and shopping bags earns us a whopping 5 cents per container and reused shopping bag at the Co-Op check out. On average we reuse 20 to 30 containers for big shopping trips. So let’s say we save $1.25 per weekly grocery bill just for our containers. It doesn’t seem like much but over the course of a year we might save about $65. Altogether it is like getting paid $365 a year to not make trash. This figure assumes my total consumer trash to the landfill is around $12 annually.
When I think about it, if someone were to hand me that amount of money would I put it in a garbage bag and take it to the landfill? Isn’t there something better to spend it on?
These micro decisions that seem imperceptible, like adjusting the level of a lead vocal in a mix, end up saving a lot of money, over $1500 in five years. We didn’t embark on a zero-waste lifestyle to save money; our environmental impact was our first concern. But just like any decision we make, it has a ripple effect and ends up having consequences both intended and unintended. It isn’t our intention to put the nice trash man out of business, however his job is predicated on a system that encourages us to make incredible amounts of waste. It is our intention to remove our family, as much as possible, from supporting that system. In as much as others are willing to join us, if that system is to survive, then out of necessity it will have to change.
Thank you for reading,