If we saw the trash we throw away not as objects but as money, would we be much more careful?
If you go to the grocery store to buy avocados, the full price you pay for it isn’t only in the avocado itself. What you’re paying for is also the mesh net bag that carries all your avocados, the plastic bag you’ll get with your purchase, the paper receipt that comes with your monetary transaction, the labour costs of the guy who does inventory, the owners who keep the grocery store running, the cashier you’ve just interacted with, the transportation that got the avocados here in the first place (all the way from Mexico!), and we haven’t yet gotten into what it takes to nurture an avocado tree.
Maybe produce isn’t the best example, so let’s start again and take the object of a new shirt from H&M.
When you buy an affordable and trendy shirt from H&M, again, what you pay for is the tags that get put onto it, the plastic bag you’ll get with your purchase, the paper receipt that comes with your purchase, the labour costs of the H&M workers who do inventory/cashing out/cleaning up, the store owner that keeps the store running, the planes and trucks that delivered your shirt all the way from China, the labour workers who operate in factory settings to sew together all parts of your shirt, the dyes and water it took to create the fabric, then the farming of the cotton itself, and lastly the weaving it took to combine plastic polymers into the fabric of the farmed cotton to make it cheaper to produce.
So when you throw your money out to buy a newer shirt, is it worth it?