Minimal Waste

Preparing for relocation from the tropics to the mountains, I decided to downsize again and began the painful process of going through my belongings and discarding what was no longer needed.

Living in southern Florida, I already owned flip-flops for the beach, but I ended up purchasing several more pairs shortly after arriving because they were on sale for $1.00, thinking they were cheap and convenient, I threw them into my shopping cart and went on my way.

I wore the flipflops all throughout the summer and they continued to stay in relatively good condition but I knew that I didn’t need or want a bunch of flip-flops in the mountains at an altitude of 7000 feet, so they had to go.  Not wanting to be a part of a throwaway society, I thought about what to do with them.  Goodwill and other charities would not take them because they were cheap and worn.

Most people would have just tossed them into the garbage without a second thought, but I didn’t want to contribute to the landfill and thought about all the products that are for a single use or one-time purpose only, and end up polluting the environment for decades or more.

Then I started to ask myself some questions.  Why had I purchased them in the first place?  I no longer wanted to spend my time or money on material things which brought short-term pleasure and extended misery, yet I had made an impulse purchase.  I knew I had to do better in the future.  I thought about all the stuff that I had purchased over the years and the money I had wasted.  Then I realized that I was participating in the wastefulness that I did not want to be a part of.  Something even as small and insignificant as a pair of flip-flops has a great impact on the environment.  I then remembered a story about a man in Africa that was making artwork out of old flip-flops that had washed up in the ocean. That was my answer!  I could send the flip-flops to the artist in Kenya. After some research, I found the organization but they responded that due to the country’s levying duty, that they were no longer taking donations. Instead, they suggested that I donate them to a local school where children could make recycled art out of them.  I loved this idea!

The simple act of buying a pair of flipflops isn’t simple at all but impacts your personal finances, your environment, as well as making a global impact.  What we discard here, may cause environmental problems somewhere else. For me personally, I wasted my own money, brought more unwanted junk into my home, then had the problem of how to get rid of them in an environmentally friendly way.  If I hadn’t purchased the flip-flops in the first place, I wouldn’t haven’t had to deal with any of this.

Next time you buy anything, think about how many purposes the item or object has before it is thrown away.  Sometimes we can’t avoid a single use product, but if we try to think outside of the box, we may be able to keep things out of the landfill and oceans by giving them a longer lifespan.

Check out this link!  This guy is inspirational!


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