Boston Compass

Boston Compass #114: Trash is Tragic


Trash is Tragic
August 2019

It’s moving season, my trashy babies! Need a hard-core visual of the engorged shillelagh of endless waste that’s crammed into each and every orifice of modern life? Look no further than the gaping garbage hole of moving day.

Being ZW means considering the life cycle of everything I own: how it was made, how it’s useful to me, how it will be regenerated when I no longer need it. Ideally, I acquire only what’s of use, but like everyone else, I get shit I don’t need. Packing up to move, I question the wisdom of Past Mel: what kind of “art” was that b trying to make with 30 lbs of metal studs and acid wash jeans? Lesson noted. Distinguishing items of use and value is personal work, and it comes with practice.

This practice alone won’t transform the epicenter of our city’s annual garbage orgy, Allston Christmas – but it would help. Nothing says “my parents pay my rent!” better than the street waste generated by thousands of young folk, as they scramble to vacate neighborhoods they feel little connection to. In this fashion, the curbs of Allston become monuments to our deeply wounded culture of garbage chaos. Left curbside, perfectly functional items muddle into street pulp after a single rainstorm. If we willingly let this happen to our resources, why bother buying them to begin with? Can we help others in our community by donating instead?

Yes, the stakes of a refunded security deposit are high. But moving day doesn’t have to involve sidewalks choked with futons and salt-stained Uggs. Instead, it could be a time to re-assess the value of objects in our lives, and return resources to the local community. Doing so is relatively simple: 1 – give yourself enough time to sort through your sorry collection of crap and 2 – know where to sell or donate unwanted items. I’ve compiled a comprehensive guide on doing both.

For a complete ZERO WASTE GUIDE TO MOVING, visit


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