IMG_0535The other day Don ordered a little shoe bench to put by the front door.

It’s very cute and it works like a top.  We take our shoes off at the door and after a few days we always seem to have every pair of shoes we own lined up down the living room wall.  I honestly don’t understand how it happens.

Before I go too far down that rabbit trail what really struck me was the fact that the shoe bench was in a box inside another much bigger box that was filled with wadded up paper.

Total waste.


Which of course bugged the shit out of me and when something bugs the shit out of me I think about it.

fillpak-tt-smallThe paper – what the shipping industry calls dunnage – was seriously about 30 feet long… and in one piece.  When this dunnage shows up at the shipping facility it’s either on a big roll or folded in a big stack.  It gets fed into a dunnage machine.  The only thing a dunnage machine does it wad up paper.  That’s all it exists for.

I kinda hate dunnage machines.

On the other hand, I am always grateful when something I buy arrives without damage so I kinda like dunnage machines.

It’s a fine line we have to walk while living in this world.

The truth is we can’t exist in the universe without causing some kind of change.  That’s truth.  It just is.  So sometimes it’s hard to love trees and shoe benches at the same time.  Speaking of which, why would I guiltlessly love a wooden shoe bench and so rabidly hate paper dunnage?  Trees died for both.

Again, this bugged the shit out of me.

Again I thought about it.


I think it has to do with the difference between use and waste.

I think we should USE as many resources as we NEED.  I am trying to reduce my WASTE which I define as the thoughtless discarding of still useful material.  So I thought about this paper.  Now honestly, this paper had served a purpose.  It had protected the shoe bench in transit.  So it could have theoretically gone in the garbage.  For some reason that still felt like waste.

IMG_0514So I folded the paper back up.


I thought about using it as a weed barrier in the garden.  But that felt like giving in too soon.

I mean, I have 30 feet of paper… that just happens to be the perfect weight for making patterns.

So this paper now sits on top of a pantry shelf waiting to become the basis for a pair of pants or a shirt.

When it’s no longer useable for sewing it will go into the garden or the compost bin.

And just to be clear, it’s not really about the paper.  It’s about honoring the rest of creation.



2 thoughts on “Waste

  1. I buy stuff on Craigslist used. What is considered waste and need is so relative. I remember being a child telling my dad cars were a want because we could ride horses. The high school age me agreed with my dad. Now I work with many Amish and think maybe my original idea wasn’t completely crazy. It’s all relative but if we are taking time to think about what waste means in our own lives we are winning half the battle.

    1. freethnkr1965

      So true catskillGirl, it is tough to define waste even on a personal level. I know I am still struggling/evolving in this area.

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