Virtual Programming: Week 5

Holden Garbology means a lot of things.

A trove of hidden treasures, appearing among the recycling. Machines that turn cans and cardboard into neat, portable bales. An alchemy that transforms food scraps into fertile compost. And a lot of hard-working volunteers to make it all happen!

We can both celebrate the transformation as our waste finds new life, and we can fully engage and reckon with the troubling reality of our disposable-centric culture. 

Garbology is more than a chance to get messy... it's a time to gain a deeper understanding of our place in the web of all things.

The Garbology Team
In this edition of Virtual Programming:

  • Video: "A Day in the Life of Garbo!"
  • Podcast: "Mindful Consumption"
  • Reflection: "Grounding in the Garbo Dome"
  • Activity: "Discussion and At-home Waste Audit"
Garbo by the numbers

160-200 lbs:
Our minimum weekly summer average of discarded cardboard. With 10 weeks of summer we will produce ~1,600lbs of cardboard!

952 lbs:
How much compost a Village of roughly 200 people produce per week! That's equals out to nearly a half a pound per person per day!

Compost reduction strategies:
  1. The Kitchen team strategically orders, designs menus, and uses leftovers efficiently. We love leftovers!
  2. Individuals can portion only what they want to eat, eat everything on their plate, and be mindful not to let leftovers go to waste!
Watch this video of all the work that goes into each Garbo shift! Sorting, shifting, churning, washing, and spinning: it takes a Village to manage hundreds of people's waste products, and to have fun doing so!
"Garbology has increased my understanding of how we get into cycles of consumption and is also a way to be mindful, care for creation, and show respect for the interdependent web of which we are all a part of. "

~ Rachael Meadors, Garbologist
Read Rachael's reflection on serving as Holden Garbologist here in the Village!
Any day is a good day to start a garbology discipline!
Your efforts make a difference. Even a small start contributes to the larger impact and is the beginning of a bigger change.
Reflection/Discussion Questions

 If you have trouble answering any of these questions, why is that? What are some of the barriers designed to distance us from the effect of our garbage? How are our systems of waste disposal designed to shield many people from the realities of where our waste goes? 

1. Learn where your waste goes!

  • When your trash “goes out” where does it end up?
  • Consider the population who lives nearest the landfill, what might they have in common (ie. race, class, immigration status, etc.)?
  • What actually happens to your recycling? Many folks know recyclables get re-made into products; but how does that work? Is there anything that might prevent recyclables from re-purposed?
  • Note that all recyclables should be CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN. If there is food residue left on a recyclable, what might happen to it?
  • If your community composts, where does the end product go?

2. Waste makes long-term impacts on our communities

  • What happens to hazardous waste materials? How far must your waste travel to reach the site of its disposal? Who are the workers who dispose of your garbage and how much are they paid? 
  • Which communities bear the burden of receiving other communities' waste? What impacts does that have on human health, ecosystem health, water quality, air quality, etc.?

3. Making a difference starts today!  

  • What items can you decline to purchase this week? How can you reduce the amount of packaging and waste you generate this week? What changes can you advocate for in your family, your neighborhood, your congregation, your community and beyond to change your consumption and waste habits beyond this week? 
  • How would your consumption patterns change if you and your neighbors sorted through each other's waste before disposal? See below for a waste audit activity to gain understanding about your own patterns!
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All individuals pictured have been fully vaccinated for COVD-19.

Reference herein to any specific commercial products or services does not necessarily constitute or imply its
endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Holden Village.
PHOTOS/VIDEOS: Callie Mabry and Hannah Lauber