Trash or Treasure?

Garbage, trash, rubbish…whatever you call it, if you’ve read this, you’re likely looking for new ways to analyze and identify patterns in the stuff you toss. During a presentation by the Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District at the Sustain Dane Water Steward Session in 2023,  I heard the phrase “there is no away”, in reference to what we flush down our drains. That phrase has been rattling around in my head daily since I heard it. It’s helped inform so many of my choices since and supports the grand but comforting idea that everything is connected.

In our daily lives, the waste we produce isn’t divorced from nature. The drains that our water spins down don’t go to a vacuous black hole, the trash we throw in the garbage isn’t magically whisked away to a vat of harmonious containment. What are you looking to change about your trashier habits? How are you looking to strengthen your connection to the natural world? Here are a few selections that are helping us reframe our relationship with what we consume:

Peer into the ecology and design of a Mexican beehive

Buy or borrow the newest work from Edward Humes titled Total Garbage -

How We Can Fix Our Waste and Heal Our World 

“What happens to our trash? Why are our oceans filling with plastic? Do we really waste 40 percent of our food 65 percent of our energy? Waste is truly our biggest problem, and solving our inherent trashiness can fix our economy, our energy costs, our traffic jams, and help slow climate change—all while making us healthier, happier and more prosperous.” via Penguin Random House

Learn about a machine that turns glass bottles into sand (and then into fancy glass dinner plates!)

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Hanna Kohn

Hanna Kohn is the Operations & Communications Manager with Green Life Trading Co. where she educates individuals and small businesses on accessible and sustainable products and solutions. She holds a BA in Communication Arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is a Sustain Dane Master Recycler. Hanna is always up for a chat about composting or the latest animal & nature emojis.