Last week I visited the Trash Museum of Connecticut on a whim (unfortunately they do not have an official website, but visitor info is here ). I’d read about it before in various eco-conscious publications, and figured I should explore it since it’s in my own (temporary) backyard.
Sure it’s designed primarily with children in mind, but that shouldn’t deter us older kids from visiting. Thorough information about reducing waste, reusing what we consider to be waste, and recycling materials is posted everywhere, in creative and inviting ways.
It was inspiring to see what was created with trash, from food packages, furniture, clothing, toys, you name it! Not only that, but the amount of trash used in the displays stood as a testament to the idea that trash should be seen as a resource, if only because it is so readily available. You can get trash anywhere!
Colorful murals covered most of the walls not bearing information, depicting animals that have had to alter their lives because of human interference. My favorite bit had to be the squirrel indulging in a french fry.
I read a lot about ways to be more resourceful, and minimize my impact on the environment, but even I walked away from the Trash Museum with new knowledge. There is a great section about raw materials, such as aluminum, which is perhaps most popularly used in soda cans. The energy and effort that goes into creating just one small ‘individual’ sized can is appalling, especially considering how short the lives of these tooth-rotting, gut-busting drink vessels are. So frustrating!
While the museum itself is not very big, visitors are also afforded a glimpse into the process of recycling. A viewing platform offers views into the attached recycling plant, where one might find herself mesmerized by the constant influx of used plastic, glass and paper, which is continuously shoveled up and fed into a separating system. It is staggering to think of how much reusable trash there is in the world, how many landfills there are chock full of things that could have had longer lives, and yet how few recycling plants exist at this point in time. I don’t have the facts and figures readily available on this, but given that I still encounter many, many ignorant people who don’t recycle ANYTHING, I have a hunch that recycling programs are not yet widespread enough.
It’s useless, of course, to criticize how neglectful humans have been to this planet thus far. While I often find it frustrating that there is still so much work to be done to minimize unnecessary waste, to better use resources, and above all educate everyone, I keep talking about it. No matter how many snickers or annoyed sighs I get in return, I keep talking about it. Every real plate used over a disposable plate, every reusable coffee mug lugged around in lieu of daily paper cups, every cloth bag used to schlep groceries over plastic – they are all small triumphs. If you don’t believe me, just visit the Trash Museum. Or, if you’re blessed to be far, far away from CT, your nearest trash can.