GOOD Challenge Update: We're So Trashy

Posted by Cord Jefferson

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Things are easier said than done, or so the old adage goes, and we couldn't agree more. That's why we do The GOOD 30-Day Challenge (#30DaysofGOOD), a monthly attempt to live better. Our challenge for July? Waste less.

A little more than two weeks ago, we set out to stop throwing so much stuff away for our July challenge. If GOOD is against anything, it's against wasting stuff, be that human potential, fuel for unnecessarily large cars, or just the packaging used to hold our sandwiches at lunch. The simple fact is that we use too many things in our daily lives, things that often get tossed away carelessly when we're done with them. That in mind, we set out to stop being so trashy. Unfortunately, the results have been garbage.

We'll be direct: We haven't been wasting less. Our plan to recycle more around the office outright tanked, as was made clear by this Tumblr post. And people are still strolling in every day with their plastic cups of iced coffee and lunches wrapped in cardboard boxes. Granted, some of that waste is going into recycling, but certainly not all of it, and recycling still saps energy.

Thankfully, the GOOD community has succeeded where we have failed. As is clear from the great many Twitter and Facebook notes we've received, a lot of you are quite literally cleaning up your act in ways that truly make the world better.

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The month isn’t over yet, of course, and we’re not quitters. The goal to cut our trash down to one grocery bag a week still stands. Only now we’re approaching things with the humility one gets when one realizes the true enormity of the problem they face. Most Americans have been raised to consider almost everything disposable—diapers, clothing, furniture, electronics, food. To stop believing that essentially requires relearning how to interact with the world. That is very hard. Then again, it’s not called the Challenge for nothing.