This past week I decided I would collect my room garbage for two consecutive weeks for this lab. This morning I got up all scared when I heard my mom silently coming into my room at 5 am to take my garbage out, after all the hard work I just got up and told my mom to leave my garbage alone and went back to sleep, she thought I was sleepwalking and left my garbage in the trash can.
After the Covid-19 closed the university I moved back home with my family in Naselle, Washington, a small town located in the southwest corner of Washington. In my preparation for this lab I made a list of the behaviors and activities that reflected the items I have discarded over the past week and I found out that my family and I have spent more money on Mexican candy, baked goods, soft drinks (Arizona tea and orange juice), vitamins (C and D), grains (especially beans) and cleaning supplies, than what we just did a couple months ago before the quarantine started. I personally have spent quite some money on office and school supplies. According to my garbage, I have spent money on a printer, copy paper, a metal 3-hole punch, a stapler, and a white board. The reason I have bought these items is because I work and study from home and I can’t access to the materials from the an office in Mary Gates Hall but the main reason I bought a printer is because I don’t have access to libraries anymore.
Other items I bought these past weeks that were not either food or school/office supplies are the following:
- YSL Libre perfume
- Speaker/light projector from Ebay
- Clothes (2 dresses, one skirt and one romper)
- Acrylic Paint
Things I have consumed over the past month due to the Covid-19 impact have definitely changed, I do count with a hand sanitizer in my room now, next to my bed. My house is full of cleaning supplies and I have spent nearly $100 on Mexican candy, chips and cookies to distress from the virus situation. I know it hasn’t been healthy but in the other side I have eaten more fruits than I used to back in Seattle, food is cheaper in my hometown and my family is supporting me financially making it able for us to have our bowls full of fruits such as watermelon, mangoes, avocados, bananas, grapes and oranges. We really love avocados!
I found very interesting not only the items that my household is throwing away, but I reflected on the things that we haven’t been able to buy or have access to. I personally have decreased my waste from going on birth control and not having to buy pads anymore. I am no longer spending money on Uber, and my bank account couldn’t be more happy about it. I am no longer able to go out with my friends or on dates, which could potentially reduce the waste from buying drinks and food from restaurants. I am no longer wearing makeup or shaving my legs, which has also been good for my skin and for my monthly budget since I am not buying products like shaving cream, foundation and concealer which were some of the items I would regularly buy every month. Another thing is that since I don’t go out to parties, clubs or to the gym, I do not have huge piles of laundry every week invading my room, which can decrease the amount of detergent, fabric softener and dryer sheets produced.
I am expecting to see more food waste, especially now that people are bored in their homes consuming more food than they probably used to, another good reason is that people have more time to cook and to bake goods, creating a distractive and fun thing to do during the quarantine. I am as well expecting to see more garbage from cleaning products. I am expecting to see less outdoor gear such as fishing equipment due to the closure of rivers in which they let people go fishing, and another one that comes to my mind is the reduction of makeup waste in my neighborhood’s garbage. Lastly I think people in my neighborhood will still have about the same amount of waste from fruits and vegetables in their trash just like they did before, because they have access to them and not a lot of people pay attention to these items. I believe these changes of our consumption reflect our priorities as a society, people in my community went crazy about toilet paper and cleaning supplies. In the Why We Consume So Much article by Nigel Barber, he explains that people now are consuming more than ever. Right now social media is providing information that has a strong influence in the things we think we need to buy, but is the way how this information plays a role in our heads what might result interesting for archaeologists in the future in respect to our trash during this crisis.
“Imgur.” Imgur – Fake News. Angry Opossum 2020!…, 26 Mar. 2018, www.facebook.com/imgur/posts/fake-news-angry-opossum-2020httpsimgurcomgallerydvuo5pd/10155118960602471/.
Barber, N. (2018, May 24). Why We Consume So Much. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-human-beast/201805/why-we-consume-so-much