Last week, I wrote about renting a dumpster. We received many responses but the one that stood out to me was a thoughtful note from someone concerned we chose a landfill over recycling and repurposing.
It was a fair response, and I was touched that someone cared enough to speak up. I explained that we’d already exhausted other possibilities. The dumpster was not out of convenience, it was a last resort. There was no other place for these things to go. But the truth was, in the end, we did contribute to a landfill.
Brian and I believe every thing holds energy – which is why we sometimes refer to the Marie Kendo process of choosing what remains in a space – but there is nothing in her practice that addresses the responsibility in disposing of these pieces that are energetically fraught or dormant.
Our relationship with things in this country is complex. (That is a purposeful generalization. Having lived on either coast and several places in-between, it’s a sentiment that doesn’t seem to belong to one area of the country more than another).
When we downsize, when we are put in the unenviable position of cleaning out a loved one’s home or storage unit after they’ve died, when we get rid of things after a divorce, or when things break or are no longer of use and cannot be fixed or passed forward – we are confronted with the challenge of how to dispose of them.
Every single way relies upon other people (and the land) in some way. Nothing just magically disappears when we decide we don’t want it.
Recycling and repurposing have been in our periphery in various ways for many years - but when it came time for us to create a company, we put our attention directly on this. We wanted to comprehensively change how we professionally create and personally consume.
My question was – how can we partner Brian’s work so that when it is disposed of, it does no harm. Basically, I wanted every product we sell to be able to be buried in the back yard and do no harm to the soil…
(Brian just looked at me when I said it that way, but he was totally on board). And so, we decided to keep in mind the disposal of the piece even as we discover or create it.
- be more mindful of what you choose to purchase in the first place
- consider the entire thread - not just where things come from and if the land/hands were fairly treated along the way, but also where the things will go when they are no longer of use to us
We’re not entirely there yet, but we’re walking purposefully in this direction.
All this still doesn’t clear us from the rental of the dumpster… Honestly, our past ways of living lead to the inevitability of this. If we didn’t attend to this during our lifetime, someone else would have had to after we’re gone.
What I find hopeful and freeing is that we now live and work (mostly) in ways that will keep us from ever needing to rent another one.
always in motion,
p.s. if you'd like to hear an interesting podcast on what really happens to our stuff after we give it away, check out this podcast with Adam Minter...