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Through out my life my Mom has talked about how when she was growing up her family would reuse old clothes to patch jackets or even make new clothes. Sewing was a big part of what the family did. It’s just what people did when they didn’t have a lot of money, and also when the clothes that you were purchasing cost more then they do now. Today things have changed and it has become much easier to just throw away clothes as the cost of buying new clothing is quite inexpensive (unless you are buying designer clothing and if that’s the case I’d encourage you to read No Logo).

There are heaps of ethics associated with how cheap clothing is these days (see sweatshops), but my point is more the recognition of the fact that there is still plenty of use with the clothing that we do throw away. I feel a sense of responsibility to really use all parts of the clothing I purchase in as many ways as I can because so much energy goes into creating that for me in the first place.

Almost a week ago I was getting ready to leave the Permaforest Trust and had to go through my room figuring out what was worth keeping, throwing out, and saving. One of my pairs of work pants was quite trashed (massive hole in the bum that couldn’t be repaired unless I had a bed sheet to fill the hole). It just suddenly dawned on me…

Why not harvest (like seed saving) all the things that can be saved off the pants?

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After living out on the Permaforest Trust farm for the last two months I find that somethings become really heightened for me. Like when I head into a large community / town / city and notice all the advertising, cars, people, and so much more. It’s hard to explain if you haven’t been out in the wilderness for long periods of time but you get accustomed to hearing birds, seeing trees, and nature being the noise.

Toilet Paper

Picture these two examples…

Recently, I was in a cafe restroom when I noticed that extra toilet rolls were individually wrapped in plastic inside a larger plastic toilet bag wrapping. It made me wonder why they had actually packaged the rolls in this manner…

Another example being the small cellphone that I recently bought, which was placed inside a massive box of which half the box was actually just cardboard framing so that when I opened it my cellphone it was displayed beautifully to me. I seriously wanted to barf!

It is that type of packaging that is helping to contribute to the massive amount of waste that our culture is creating.

“Of the 3 million tons of rubbish generated in Beijing each year, 30 percent, or 830,000 tons, are disposed packaging. 600,000 tons, or 20 percent of the total annual total, is considered to be ‘excessive.’, according to a Xinhua report.

By international standards, packaging that accounts for more than 15 percent of the cost of the product is considered excessive.” GlobalAdvocacy.com: Excessive Packaging Adds to Environmental Woes

Now people probably realize that the waste created by the high population of Beijing is more than other major cities because of their massive population, but that statistics are still really telling about what’s happening to us as consumers. The statistics presented above are relevant simply in a smaller scale, and bigger packaging like cellphones in large boxes makes a person subconciously feel like they are getting a really BIG thing. What makes us need to have that big box when purchasing a cellphone or the double wrap for toilet rolls when we purchase them?

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