For some women, it’s shoes. For me, it’s books. It’s actually a bit of a problem and makes moving day an exercise in justification-invention and emotional bribery to the hapless friends and family who offered their help.
When my precious acquisitions get rough around the pages, when they fall out of favor, or when a minimalist purge sweeps through my house, the result can lead to waste. You heard me, though I spent good money on them, and they have amazing, life-changing things to say, books can actually be hard to get rid of! I’ve lugged them to used bookstores and libraries and the like, tried giving them away, with no success.
This brings me to a new zero waste behavior: I am going to cut down on physical copies of books and thus their production, travel, and disposal wastes. First, I will try to get my books on Kindle (or any other digital reading program), and then only purchase a (used) book when a hard copy both feels necessary and can’t just be borrowed from the library. Finally, if I can’t donate it to my local library or a friend or family member who may enjoy it, I will put it in my garage sale. Then, as a last resort, I will recycle it.
This is a harder challenge for me than it may sound. I’m a little old lady at heart. I have a hard time with digital media. For some reason, it doesn’t seem “real” to me, and it is both hard to pay for and hard to remember that I have. However, I do want to make this shift for various aspects of my life and this seems like a good way to start.
Today, I bought Detrash Your Life in 90 Days by Katie Patrick for my Kindle. (This is not sponsored. 🙂 ) I haven’t had a chance to read it yet to give a proper review, this is just to illustrate how I am putting my money where my mouth is on this.
Though my first instinct was to search for a hard copy, I had to consider the garbage it would come packed in and the possibility that I would not like it.
Minimizing Books and Zero Waste
You might be wondering how minimizing my book collection serves my zero waste goals.
Firstly, I am guilty of purchasing books at a rapid pace. Each time a new book arrives (there is no local bookstore so these do some traveling), so too does packaging.
Secondly, because I am unable to keep up with my purchasing, books I haven’t formed an opinion on enter my life. They either go on the shelf unread, or find a new lot in life as clutter. Since, I haven’t read them, I’m not sure where the book belongs (in my home or out the door).
Thirdly, clutter creates waste. If you’re not aware of this, congratulations, you keep a tight ship. I struggle to keep a clean home. When books get stacked high enough, they invite a tea mug, a wrestle match between the kids can smash the mug, ruin the carpet, make the pages of the book(s) not fit for resale. Perhaps the book pile slides out and bumps into something, or provides haven for other clutter to hide.
In any case, having more than you need makes life harder. When life is hard, it is a relief to take the easy way out. Convenience is the mother of waste.
How About You?
How do you manage your reading habits? Do you always buy used? Digital? How do you get rid of your selections when they fall out of favor? Got any advice on recycling books for me? Please comment below!
Until next time, keep that talk walking!