Back to the land

-or- How hard is it to create a circular economy?

I’ve always been bothered by waste. When I was 12 or 13 I was making pasta for lunch. My mom saw me trying to pull the last two or three strands of spaghetti out of the pot. ‘Why are you worried about that?’ she asked. I didn’t know what to say. I just wanted to do it the right way.

Among other things, I hate plastic packaging. Every time I go to the grocery store it makes me crazy. I send emails to suppliers about their plastic, I tag the grocery store in social media posts, and complain to anyone that happens to raise the subject.

However, I love putting stuff in my compost heap and watching it turn back into nutrients in the soil. So these images are part of me photographing the stuff I buy and asking ‘What is this made from? What happens when I’m finished with it? Why do they use so much packaging? Is there a way it can be made so all the ingredients can return to the soil?’ These shots show stuff that may or may not successfully decompose in the steamy pile of grass and dog doo and kitchen scraps. I like to test whether those coffee cups really are compostable or not.

The problem of waste has become a mainstream issue. The question of what goes into the recycling bin, the normal bin, or the brown bin come up on websites, tv shows, and leaflets through the mail slot. Don’t get me started on the recycling bin…