As our last night in Wales quickly comes to a close, I have been reflecting on all the wonderful lessons I have learned here. My biggest take away from this trip is the idea that ‘there is no away’. Everything ends up somewhere. Everything you throw away, pour down the sink, toss on the ground, and flush down the toilet ends up somewhere. However, few people take the time to think about where this somewhere is.
During our visit to the Center for Alternative Technology, our tour guide stressed the need for mindfulness of where our waste goes. Many personal hygiene products contain chemicals that are harmful to the environment. When we rinse our soap off in the shower, it goes down the drain, but that is not the end of the story. A large portion of this ends up back in our waterways or the local ecosystem.
Additionally, our home waste ends up somewhere. Sometimes this can be more difficult to see because the United States ships a large portion of its garbage and recycling overseas. We, as humans, live a linear life. Yet the Earth operates in a cyclical nature. When we attempt to live linearly in a circular world, we are bound to run into problems. Composting is a good start to addressing the issue of waste, but we mostly need to find more long-term solutions to waste.
Thank you, Wales, for reminding me of this importance principle. Hopefully this final blog post opens a few eyes to the necessity of mindfulness with our waste. Next time you go to throw something “away”, take a moment to think about where that away is.