Use it once and then throw away Em D C B7
Never think about what you pay Em G Am D
Nature did it alright before Em G Am A#dim
And there’s no away, anyway, anymore B7 C7 B7 / Em D7
I’ve got them land fill blues, baby C C#dim
Don’t you say G E7
That you’re throwin’ me away A7 D7 G B7
You can melt me down, tear me apart Em D C7 B7
Recycle me a la carte Em G Am D
Rearrange my molecules Em G Am A#dim
‘Cause I don’t mind going back to school B7 C7 B7
Start over — as something new Em D C7 B7…
Whatever I’ve got to do
Everybody’s – passing through
Saxophone or an old kazoo
Really all a matter of tasteBoogie (boogie) E7
If it’s food, or if it’s waste A7
Everything going round and round D7
Doesn’t just turn to dust underground. G B7
Old shoes and a fountain pen Boogie E7
Everything wants to be born again A7
Plastic fork or a plastic knife D7
Everybody wants a new lease on life G B7
We get wasted or we get saved Em D C7 B7…
All depends, how we behave
Think about it, whatever you do,
You could end up in a landfill too
©Doug Hendren 2019
What’s it about?
Waste is a huge problem today, and a huge opportunity as well. The US represents only 4% of global population, but produces 30% of global waste. We throw out more than a ton of municipal solid waste per person every year, nearly one-third of which is packaging!
Wasted food is an important part of this picture. Americans waste 150,000 tons of food each day. Organic waste (food, scraps, yard clippings) account for about 15% of municipal landfills. Instead of producing valuable compost for farmers and gardeners, it undergoes anaerobic decomposition in landfills. This results in methane, a potent greenhouse gas contributing to climate change. According to the meticulously researched Drawdown study, reducing global food waste ranks #3 in the top 100 strategies for reversing global warming.
Landfills represent waste of land, resources and money. They poison our water with heavy metals and industrial chemicals, and enter our air as incinerator pollution. Much landfill volume is taken up with single-use plastic in the form of bags, packaging, plastic cups and utensils.
The good news: People all over the world are waking up to this problem. In 2018, 127 countries are now working single-use plastics. In the US, some states, cities and private businesses are doing the same. Recognizing that an economy based on a one-way flow from natural resource to landfill is costly and destructive, many are looking back to how nature handles these problems. In nature, waste from one process is always food for another. NOTHING is wasted!
Zero waste? The idea of a “zero waste” economy is beginning to crop up in various places, and some pretty impressive achievements have already been racked up. The ultimate goal is 100% diversion from landfill. San Francisco is aiming for zero waste by 2020. Germany has now (2019) enacted a packaging law, making manufacturers bear the burden of their packaging. Such programs require thoughtful policy and participation from policy-makers, manufacturers and citizens alike.
What can you do? Plenty! Reduce, re-use, recycle, and encourage your neighbors to do the same. Encourage them to demand simpler, bio-degradable packaging from their suppliers. Make sure your kitchen waste stream gets composted, rather than contaminating otherwise recyclable paper waste.
You can encourage policies and programs to move from one-way resource to landfill into a circular or “closed loop” economy, where waste from one part of the cycle becomes food for the next. Let’s do it Mother Nature’s way. She has been around longer than we have!