Yesterday’s Trash is… Tomorrow’s Toothbrush?

There is a thing, formless yet complete. Before heaven and earth it existed. Without sound, without substance, it stands alone and unchanging. It is all-pervading and unfailing. We do not know its name, but we call it Tao. .. Being one with nature, the sage is in accord with the Tao. —Lao Tzu

Despite recent good news on the writing front, I am constantly mired in fear and frustration that our human desire for more and more objects and consumption of objects (if only we understood objects the way the great Taoist poets did!) is utterly wrecking this home that hosts us for such a short time. As a result, I’ve scoured the web for eco-friendly resources, including ways to recycle typically unrecyclable trash (calculators, pens, etc.) and a calming discussion of climate change by my favorite Buddhist monk (wait, is that anti-Buddhist of me to pick favorites?), Thich Nhat Hanh.

    • Ever wondered what to do with all those pens lacking ink? How about those corks for you winos (I’m not judging) or the diapers for all you young parents? And for those of us writers, we know we hate stockpiling empty ink cartridges but we don’t know the proper way to dispose of them, right? Enter Terra Cycle’s Outsmart Waste Brigades.
    • Welcome to the Pacific Ocean. Thanks, humans. You're the worst species yet.

      In other news, take a moment’s pause before reaching for that plastic water bottle. Sure, recycling’s great, but check out this graphic on The Life of a Water Bottle.

    • And just as you were reading this, another species on earth went extinct (in fact, roughly 200,000 species go extinct each year due to human-related causes such as deforestation, pollution, climate change, etc. — a truly staggering statistic). The latest: the Hawaiian Lizard.

Just another day on the L.A. River.

  • Want to know more about your trash and where it goes after it leaves your hands? I did, so I checked out this CNBC investigation and video.
  • Here’s a great organization, the Baum Foundation, that supports arts, education and the environment (and projects that combine all three aims!).
  • Preserve offers the best toothbrushes ever (trust me, I’m picky) along with a range of other eco-friendly household products. Icing on the cake? They’re based in Waltham, Massachusetts, just a stone’s throw from my hometown.
  • Finally, Buddhist Monk Thich Nhat Hanh answers questions on the ramifications of climate change, urbanization, and consumerism on society and the human spirit (FYI – suffer through the bad audio at the beginning, as it does improve at 5min 17sec). One question is ‘Can you strive for both financial riches and spirituality?’ Definitely worth a view — I’ve also embedded below.

Answering Questions about Global Climate Change from Plum Village Online Monastery on Vimeo.

*An update: I recently learned that my high school has gone ‘plastic water bottle free’! I love this idea. Here’s the link to the school’s announcement:


About Kaitlin Solimine

Kaitlin Solimine was raised in New Hampshire but has considered China a second home for the past two decades. She is the author of the award-winning forthcoming novel Empire of Glass and co-founder of Hippo Reads, a media start-up connecting academic insights with real world issues. She lives in Singapore.
This entry was posted in Eat, Eco-Conscious, North America, Smile and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Yesterday’s Trash is… Tomorrow’s Toothbrush?

  1. Simon and I were talking about this very subject this morning Here in Spain there are community bins everywhere. Petrol prices have reached the top price of £1.40 per litre.

  2. Great article and information. Will definitely share and repost.

  3. Reblogged this on dlcommunicates and commented:
    This is information worth digesting. What are you/can you do to make a positive impact, be a solution to this problem?
    Whatever that is, start it today. If you’re already contributing, keep at it and expand it more each week.
    We, of the Earth, thank you.l

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