Garbology – Polina

Recently I have moved into my parents’ house to help take care of my family. From this short month, I have noticed many changes in both my personal habits, as well as everyone else in my family. In the past couple years, I have become more aware of my footprint, and am trying to reduce waste in my life. For example, back in Seattle, my roommates and I were big on composting, including food scraps, compostable tea bags, coffee filters, etc. 

At my parents’ house, they do not have a well-established composting system in their city. Although my family does not compost in the same way I have been doing, they do feed various scraps and extras to our pets. My parents have been raising chickens since before we moved to America, and raising chicks has been a part of our family for years. Included is a photo of some of our chicks from a couple years ago; they run so quick it is so hard to get a good photo of them. A lot of our leftovers, food scraps, dry bread, garden trimmings, excess fruits or vegetables, etc. will go to the chickens. It gives them a variety in their diet, as well as helps us keep our waste down. 

Our other vegetable food scraps often go towards creating broth or pickling. Growing up in Central America, we were always canning something. I am very used to saving carrots, onions, leeks, peppers, and many other vegetables for making broths, or to spruce up something we are pickling. I do not think my patterns have changed too drastically, but I have been more diligent about repurposing things, and not letting anything go to waste if I can. Here is a quick short article written by Emily Han for The Kitchn about good scraps to save for broths, and what to avoid for anyone interested!

With the unpredictability of the future with the global pandemic occurring, I think most people are trying to save money. Less is being spent on food, and that food is being stretched for longer. At least for my house, and many of my neighbors, people are spending more time cooking, and using more of their ingredients than they otherwise would. I believe archaeologists will find a lot less food waste if they examined our trash. Carrot ends and shavings may have been tossed before the pandemic, but now they are going to fertilizing gardens and being added to stocks. Dry, stale bread is now being turned into breadcrumbs, instead of being thrown away. 

On the other hand, I think archaeologists will find more material goods being bought now, and more empty boxes being recycled. With people losing their jobs or working from home, many people are spending more time at home than ever. And that can be very boring. I admit I am guilty of this as well, I was looking to buy a Nintendo Switch a couple weeks ago (specifically for Animal Crossing as it was a childhood favorite of mine), and it was completely sold out everywhere. I couldn’t buy it in stores, online, and the few places that had some in stock, where selling the switch for almost triple in price! 

From what I have been reading online, or from what my friends have been sharing, people have been spending more money on learning new skills and entertaining themselves. I have seen my friends posting about recently taking up piano, and guitar, friends recently getting into painting, and even friends just drinking and smoking more often! In an article written by Jade Bremner for Newsweek, there are statistics that alcohol sales have spiked 55% mid-March, and based on posts I have seen from friends and celebrities I can only imagine it is staying high.

In conclusion, I believe that archaeologists will find less food waste, and more ‘entertainment’ by looking through our garbage.

Works Cited

Bremner, Jade. “U.S. Alcohol Sales Increase 55 Percent in One Week Amid Coronavirus Pandemic.” Newsweek, Newsweek, 1 Apr. 2020, www.newsweek.com/us-alcohol-sales-increase-55-percent-one-week-amid-coronavirus-pandemic-1495510.
Han, Emily. “Tip: Save Vegetable Scraps for Stock.” Kitchn, Apartment Therapy, LLC., 3 May 2019, www.thekitchn.com/tip-save-vegetable-scraps-for-stock-67995.

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