Who needs it?

I’ve been paying attention to my effect on the environment, and my family’s effect. So, two or three years ago we produced roughly a bin of trash and a bin of recyclables every week. Now sometimes we don’t have trash to be picked up at all.

A couple of times I’ve put our maybe one pound of stuff in our neighbor’s bin, figuring that that big arm that grabs the bin and shakes the contents into the garbage truck won’t avoid that one movement, and we’ll save three grams of petroleum or some such. That seems extreme, but you know how thinking can get.

As the resident paper buyer, I had noticed how colds and allergy seasons cause us to go through facial tissues faster, sometimes upward of a box a day. Then I realized that all those snotty tissues mostly ended up in the Neal Road landfill, which seems kinda goofy, since they and toilet paper are alleged to be biodegradable and would be better flushed and thereby recycled than thrown away. That was the idea, although I haven’t traced our sewage past the alley.

This being an allergy season, I recently found myself throwing used tissues away out of habit and then I’d retrieve them and put them in a toilet, which at least got me more exercise. I wanted a simpler system, though, and decided to leave the toilet lids up and lob used tissues into the bowl from the hallway, kind of an old man’s jump shot except without the jumping and the basketball and the hoop.

The problem is that, unlike many otherwise admirable members of my gender, I don’t leave toilet seats up. Not being willing to kowtow to the worldwide feminine conspiracy, neither do I leave toilet seats down in utter acquiescence. No indeed, I put both the seat and the lid down, thus forcing everybody to lift something. I know it puts a heavier burden on men, but it’s all right. We’re men. So to implement my plan for easing the pressure on Waste Management, I have to change a longstanding and carefully cherished practice. I bet right turns on red lights had opposition, too.

This year my family went from using paper towels in place of a mop to not using paper towels at all. The best disposal by far is no disposal. I miss paper towels most in draining fried oysters, and actually the CN&R works in a pinch. Imagine having to dispose of a 12-foot rod of wildly radioactive material. Imagine tons of it. I’m glad I don’t have that to deal with. If I stay away from plutonium, I should be all right.