Plyboo Attends San Francisco Screening of "Trashed"

Last week, Plyboo Founder Dan Smith and President Angus Stocks were invited to the local screening of Trashed, an event sponsored by San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, San Francisco Department of the Environment, and Recology, San Francisco’s refuse and recycling company.

Yesterday, the film was the subject of a news story yesterday on CBS Sunday Morning.

The movie, narrated by Jeremy Irons, is a documentary about the ever-growing problem associated with the disposal of the prodigious amounts of trash created both nationally and globally.  Simply put, there’s just too much trash being produced, and despite some very noble efforts by various people, companies and organizations, the problem seems to be burgeoning out of control.

The natural environment cannot keep up the mountains of refuse we create. One scientist summed it up well, “Nature functions by building things up and breaking them down. We reached a point where we are constantly putting things in the environment that won’t break down.”  And of course, the waste that doesn’t break down just keeps accumulating.

But there are bright spots and Mayor Lee spoke about them.

In 2002 San Francisco passed legislation to achieve 75% landfill diversion by 2010 and 0% landfill diversion by 2010. Recology notes the great inroads that have been made to this effect.  Some 80% of trash is recycled either through the big blue bin (plastic, glass, metal) or the green bin (food scraps). Leaving only about 20% of the municipal waste that heads to the landfill.

But, it’s the remaining 20 percent that will be difficult.  Electronics comprise a significant portion of this slice of the garbage pie.  The problem with electronics, of course, is that they contain many components, some of which are toxic.  These elements are fused, soldered or laminated together in a manner that makes them extremely difficult to separate into individually recyclable materials.  That’s the one of the problems with the throwaway society.

What can you do?

One takeaway from the movie is call for the reduction or or reuse of packaging.  Certainly packaging is necessary for transporting fragile like dishes or glassware, and it prevents dent in large items like washing machines and dryers.  But, vast amounts of garbage could be redirected if the consumer would simply leave the packaging behind in the store for the business to reuse rather than taking it home and throwing it out. 

Everyday decisions could have a profound effect on the environment. Buy grocery store items in bulk or with minimal packaging can significantly reduce waste

And of course, if you’re not doing it already, compost and recycle.  Get familiar with your local waste disposal agencies.  There are probably more items that are recyclable than you realizes.  If your community doesn’t have a recycling program, lobby your legislators to create one.

Another action you can take is to buy products that are sustainable.  When Dan Smith helped to establish Smith & Fong in 1989, one of his founding principles was to create a product that would help preserve the forests of the world.  Our bamboo is sustainably grown.  The way in which we grow and harvest our bamboo assures that there will always be the same amount of bamboo in the forests we manage. 

Being part of the solution can be invigorating. By taking a little time to research your purchases, you can help reduced trash and contribute towards a greener earth.




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