Does your trash fit in trash Jar?

My story with the glass jar

 In this post I would like to share my story with the glass jar. The Advantages and Disadvantages and why I left that experiment a while ago. 

When I started the Zero Waste Challenge around May 2016, I fell deeply in love with the idea of minimizing my trash until I had a glass jar. From my perspective, the glass jar of some bloggers in the United States was really hopeful: Could I manage to reduce my waste to that point? My greatest wish was to be able to have my glass jar. My obsession with the glass jar I became hyper strict with my waste. I rejected any material, I avoided any type of packaging, I was stressed with so much plastic on the streets and with the items individually wrapped in plastic. 

Also, it bothered me a lot that my family kept bringing garbage and packaged things and that they will not support me 100% despite knowing how important it was for me that we were a congruent family. There was garbage that I could not avoid, like when I bought a USB or a hard disk just to make the visual audio of the Challenge, or some pills and other medical items. I kept everything in a box, and I did my best to find places that will accept my garbage so I can recycle it.

 I then realized the poor recycling situation in our country. There really weren’t any sites that would guarantee that a lot of the trash would actually be recycled. If it would not be recycled, then how could I stop having a box and manage to store it in a glass jar? 

I went to the Plastianguis (an event organized by the plastics industry in Mexico) where I tried to make sure that they would put my waste to good use. However, not even the organizers knew whether certain waste could be recycled or not. The plastic experts were there without being able to assure me anything about recycling rates. This left me truly stunned regarding the recycling situation in Mexico.

 There are no experts who can assure you that a material is recyclable or not. In fact, most Waste experts and environmental NGOs agree that plastic is a material that is not recyclable, that is, they only give it a couple of laps in their recycling and each time it loses more and more quality until you can’t do anything with it. I continued with the task of looking for places to recycle the things that I had left. 

Finally, around October 2018 I managed to reduce my garbage to the maximum of a small glass jar. It is the photo that I still show out there and that I proudly show off in several photos.

 But until then I stopped that experiment. I found that there are pros and cons and here I share my reflections. This was my attempt to fill a trash can from 2016 to 2018 Advantages and disadvantages ADVANTAGES 

Excellent tool to explain Zero Waste.

 The Zero Waste concept is a difficult concept.  When you are not familiar with the subject, everyone classifies you as an idealistic madman. I lived with waste experts with years and years of experience on the subject and it was still debated whether “Zero Waste” is achievable or not. The idea of people storing their garbage in a glass jar is an excellent tool to explain the concept. It attracts attention and is something we activists need It is an activist marketing tool. 

It is easy to attract people’s attention by showing a small glass jar where you keep your garbage for years. It’s hopeful, and it motivates you to improve your lifestyle and be more responsible with your waste. It tells you what we should be doing at the societal level 

The message of keeping your garbage in a glass jar is what we should be doing but at a society level. Just what the Zerowasters keep in a glass jar is what companies (or whoever is producing it) should not produce it. If you can’t recycle, reuse, or make something out of it, then don’t make it from the start. 

DISADVANTAGES

     Perhaps in other countries it is actually possible to have a glass jar with garbage because they have efficient recycling systems. I am sure that in Mexico it is not. 

Little by little recycling is improving but for now the system is in limbo. It took a lot of energy and effort for me to figure out what is really recyclable from what is not recyclable. Showing a small glass jar with what is roughly recyclable diverts attention from the largest paint waste in the country.

 It gives the wrong idea that in Mexico we have an efficient recycling system We urgently need to improve the recycling system in our country. No one is responsible for the waste they produce and end up contaminating the soil, the rivers and the nature. 

The lifestyle consist on trying to live with less trash

Gabriela Baeza