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  • Transcriber: TED Translators Admin Reviewer: Rhonda Jacobs

  • You might not know this just from looking at me,

  • but you might guess it from smelling me.

  • One of my favorite things to do is take out the trash.

  • It's the laziest way to technically pare down your possessions,

  • because the one thing you can never do enough of

  • in a small New York City apartment like mine

  • is get rid of stuff.

  • The stuff that our modern consumerist carbon-powered culture

  • makes us buy endlessly and often for no reason.

  • Getting rid of people never hurts either.

  • Roommates, family members,

  • that old lady who's been in your living room for weeks.

  • Who is she anyway?

  • No squatters allowed.

  • I don't care if you're a ghost.

  • Also, not to brag,

  • but I've been micro-decluttering since before Marie Kondo got big.

  • In fact, I've cut out her step

  • of picking things up and figuring out whether they spark joy in me

  • because I already know what sparks joy in me,

  • throwing out trash.

  • What kind of trash?

  • Well, I'll give you a clue.

  • It starts with H and it ends with air.

  • That's right, it's a lot of hair.

  • Don't try and picture how much; you'll feel sick.

  • And if you don't feel sick, you haven't pictured enough.

  • I shed like an Instagram influencer sheep dog

  • who's decided fur is the only thing holding her career back.

  • We're all trying to reduce our carbon footprints and consumption.

  • So by throwing out trash,

  • I also naturally mean recycling and composting.

  • I try to do both.

  • In fact, I once carried a takeout container across half the city

  • just to put it in the right bin.

  • Where's my inspiring biopic?

  • But then I learned recycling frequently isn't working.

  • Even if we all separate out glass, cans and cardboard,

  • a lot of stuff doesn't neatly fit into those categories.

  • Paper envelopes lined with bubble wrap can't be recycled.

  • Pizza boxes with grease stains can't be recycled.

  • That memory from seventh grade when I ...

  • Ah, who am I kidding?

  • All of seventh grade can't be recycled.

  • There's even a term for it: aspirational recycling.

  • At first, I thought that's if you went to spin class last week,

  • so it should count for this week too.

  • China used to import a lot of the US's recyclables,

  • but they stopped accepting foreign garbage in 2018

  • as part of a pollution ban.

  • Whatever happened to one country's trash is another country's treasure?

  • Now, a lot of US recycling goes straight to landfills.

  • The EPA says that only 10 percent of plastic has ever been recycled.

  • Not that this is about me,

  • but this balloons my anxiety the size of the giant Pacific garbage patch

  • way out in the ocean

  • where we'll all eventually go for our next destination wedding.

  • So, if you're American,

  • hound your political representatives to work on this recycling issue,

  • and try to create less waste overall by reusing materials.

  • Here's stuff I've been reusing in my life:

  • plastic bags, salsa jars and old fights with my boyfriend.

  • Now, the next time I have to throw out the trash,

  • I can confidently ask:

  • Hey, can I reuse this loose ball of hair again?

  • And you know what? I probably can.

  • In fact, I'm going to give it to that old ghost lady as a going away present.

  • Thank you.

Transcriber: TED Translators Admin Reviewer: Rhonda Jacobs

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B1 TED trash recycling recycled seventh garbage

The joy of taking out the trash | Aparna Nancherla

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/12/30
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