You Are What You Eat
I do not consider myself a civic recycler. I do not sort my paper and plastic out of some higher ideal. I do not carry a fabric bag to and from the grocery store rather than rely on their disposable bags due to some tree hugging urge. I do not make a point to buy recycled materials to be “green”. But I do anyway. This is because I am a nervous recycler. Throwing away items that I cannot conceive of decomposing makes me anxious. Buying over packaged products makes me remorseful. But nothing bothers me more than multiple heavy Styrofoam containers of leftovers from a restaurant. Restaurant leftovers are the paradox of thrift and consideration. By taking leftovers home, we are not wasting that food that we could not eat. But, in order to conserve food, we generate shocking amounts of garbage, and the type of garbage that I find the most unnerving: Styrofoam.
Why is it, that to conserve, we just generate more of a different kind of waste? I think it’s funny that there is this obsession with bringing your own durable, reusable bags to super markets for buying bulk food but little to no consideration is taken of the dining out equivalent. So, This week, I decided to cary a container around with me to use for any leftovers I had from eating out rather than having them pack it for me. The container is a soup container that my local wonton shop gives when I order soup out. It is perfect since most anything will fit in it and not leak. When I was at Karen’s Bakery, I had them place the muffin in my container. In fact, it’s gotten to the point that the woman behind the counter knows the drill.
After a week of carrying my container around, I wondered what I should do for a summary project, and, after much thinking, I decided that the first step is awareness. So, I thought I would make a little piece poking fun at the phrase “You are what you eat” to remind people that there is more to the food process than just the food. First, I collected a bunch of restaurant containers, utensils, napkins, and bags and took pictures of them. Then I sorted them out by their shade and used them as pixels in a Processing sketch that draws whatever is in the camera lens out of leftover packaging. I never did any of those Processing mirrors last year, so I thought I would get one in before I graduated.