When I hung up the phone with Buddy Boyd of Zero Waste Canada I was holding my head in both amazement and despair. Amazement because this man had profoundly changed my perception of recycling and waste in just over an hour, and despair because I didn’t know what the hell I was going to do with this new information! To top it all off he finished our conversation by asking me to make this blog FUN!!! How was I going to make trash sound like fun? I was sweltered to say the least.
Buddy who has been on this odyssey since the 70’s has a way of explaining what is a very complex problem: the amount of waste that we individuals produce, and giving you solutions that are easily applicable to everyday life. Much like my journey into veganism my path to producing the least waste possible was basically based on the same question: how much was I willing to be inconvenienced? Buddy explained how industries and the government had influenced my thinking into believing that by recycling, buying eco-friendly trash bags and using the city’s composting system, for example, I was being a good “green” citizen. They had sold me “convenient environmentalism”. He explained that waste and recycling management were a money funnel in which bureaucrats that didn’t give a rat’s ass about the environment were making big salaries, and that the campaigns governments put on were just a way for them to throw sand in our faces. I kept listening as my heart sank because, as with climate change and animal rights, the responsibility fell right on my lap. Funny? I didn’t think so!
What made me even more puzzled was that Buddy didn’t even sound slightly upset. He was happily chatting away about what was one of humanity’s most horrific problems: “Humans are the only species on the planet that does not manage its own waste,” he said. “What matters is where you put your money and who you support. Will you buy your vegetables from a producer far away that are delivered by plane or will you do some research and find a locally grown organic product?” I knew Buddy was right. After our talk I decided to go for a walk with my dog for some much needed fresh air and there they were, right in front of me – the recycling bins. Tonight out of all the days was the garbage, recycling, and compost pick-up night! As I looked at the bins I knew I was now aware of the waste scam and that there was no turning back. I had to make changes in my life.
I decided I would stick to Buddy’s suggestions as I did with other vegan’s when I transformed myself from a carnivore into a plant-eating person. I would follow his advice which was to keep it simple and start by changing one thing at a time. Keep It Simple Stupid as they say! Maybe that’s why he told me he was from the KISS generation?
I made the decision to become more responsible about my buying habits by:
. Preferring products with smarter packaging,
. Supporting locally grown fruit and vegetables,
. Buying in bulk,
. Reusing more containers,
. Buying bio-degradable bags made out of hemp,
. Do some home composting which sounded really far out for a city dweller like me, but turns out to be quite simple.
I can proudly say that I have already found a local greenhouse grower and am doing research into buying products that use more eco-friendly packaging. I promised him I would go to the food store and return the plastic containers right there on the spot so yes Mr. Buddy Boyd, I am willing to be inconvenienced. Reducing my amount of waste might cost me more and change how I am used to living, however it is not only possible but essential if I want to be a genuine environmentalist. Common sense is just common sense; and well, what the heck, I could use a new challenge in my life!
Buddy and his wife Barb have dedicated most of their lives to waste reduction. They own a local company in, Gibson BC called the Gibson Recycling Depot where they accept recyclable materials such as styrofoam and glass and items like furniture and household products from individuals. The components are either transformed into other products that are sold to companies and the items are sold on their own site shop for reuse. Thanks Buddy and Barb you are truly a great inspiration!