By: Chris Vail
Last month I shared what KKCB will focus on as we come into the new school year and our ongoing plans for educational and community based programs. I wrote about Food Waste and Source Reduction. Before we can really analyze our ways to decrease our consumption of goods we need to talk about shopping in general.
When you would ask someone what they were doing this weekend the question would be answered in two categories, labor and leisure. Labor was the housework, lawn work, laundry and cleanups and up until fairly recently shopping was a part of the labor category. But over time, that definition changed. Shopping became a social leisure activity. And, once something becomes a leisure pursuit, it becomes something that people covet doing all of the time.
People look at shopping as a chore only 10% of the time and the other 90% consider it a leisure activity. So when somebody tells you that they’re going to do a little bit of shopping over the weekend, you figure that they consider it leisure. I remember going to visit friends and our leisure activities were shopping and eating….
What we have done is taken a chore and turned it into a leisure activity for the collection of ‘stuff’ .
The problem is that retail therapy isn’t real and that “stuff” doesn’t make you feel better at all in the long term. So while you may enjoy the sun shining down on you as you browse shop windows, chances are that you’re actually accomplishing the opposite of leisure. Do you truly have the budget to buy the things that you’re buying? Is the packaging in the stuff necessary? Are there other activities that you could do that would be healthier and actually better for creating the desired impact of leisure time? We’ll go ahead and answer that one for you! The answer is yes! But because over decades, and in some cases centuries, we’ve been taught that “stuff” soothes and calms us, shopping has become a leisure fallback. So now we need to re-evaluate the ‘stuff’ aspect. Simplifying and minimizing are moving us towards the mentality of less, but, it is hard to part with coveted collections or goods. But that T.V. that weighs 200 lbs. in your basement can really go….
And, a few weeks ago, KKCB held our annual Household Hazardous Waste and E-Waste Event. It was evident your ‘stuff’ was getting thrown away….We collected over 7,500 lbs. of hazardous waste and just under 20K lbs. of electronic waste. All of this waste needed to be properly disposed of because of the materials in the goods. We no longer plan to own things for many years. Two years of ownership of a phone is considered a long time. Why? Because the manufacturer essentially obsoletes a product the day it is introduced. New phones are out yearly and old ones batteries go out… I still have the packaging from my new phone 2 years ago…
But there is more… It’s not limited to environmental concerns, though the churn of the consumer machine is destroying our planet without question. It’s also about emotional and mental health. We need to return to an evolution where leisure de-stressed us and reset us for the world. We won’t be able to do that by shopping for relaxation! So, join me in thinking and reflecting about our purchases, food and consumer goods, in a measured responsible way. Buy what we need and don’t waste… Simple…
Please remember to join Ogallala Public Schools in their efforts to continue to lead the country, the state and the region in being the best recyclers around. Every Wednesday morning, from 7:30 to 8:00 am weather permitting, I will be taking pictures of students, parents and staff to enter into our pics and prizes contest. Prizes are gift cards from our rewards from the Recycle Rally and we want to give them to you! Oh, and BTW we are in 5th place!!!!
And finally, Thanks go out to the KKCB board and community members that support our efforts, the Keith County, the City of Ogallala and the Ogallala Public School system aid us in delivering our message and keeping Keith County beautiful .