I have been conducting a thought experiment recently about what would change in my life if I did not have a bin. I love my bin. I love the design of it. I love the feeling I get when I put something in there, expunging it from my life.
The catalyst for thinking about this was spending a weekend at a permaculture farm where they do not have a bin. Everything that comes onto the property stays on the property, and needs to be re-used as an input into another process in some way. All of a sudden I was conscious of everything that I was using that had a byproduct that would not help this farm.
In thinking about it though, it seems that many of my actions, many of the things I buy, many of my decisions, come about because the bin exists. Because every week a truck comes along and takes away the things I no longer want in my life.
Nature does not quite work like this. In reality the things that get taken away do not disappear. They are buried in a big pit and covered with dirt, not being of any use to anybody. In nature, everything that is an output becomes and input for another being, organism, process. The bin is putting my out of sync with nature.
I don't think I am ready to get rid of my bin yet. I am ready to start living more in line as if it did not exist. Here are some thoughts/questions this has raised for me:
- I would be very mindful of purchasing anything made of plastic, metal (ie anything made of stuff dug deep out of the ground), as once I had finished with it it would be hard to know what to do with it
- I would have to have a garden and a composting system
- This would mean I would probably grow more of my own food
- Overall I think I would spend less money on material stuff
- I would think carefully about giving things away for which I no longer had a use
- I would spend more money on experiences, books and relationships than things
- I would make more things from scratch, especially food
- I would spend more time outdoors
Perhaps I am overplaying it; the only way to know would be to get rid of the bin and see what happened. Part II in this series is how my life would be different if I did not have a smart phone.