“There is no such place as away”

May 2007

“There is no such place as away”: freeganism, dumpster-diving, and waste:

We used to stub a cigarette out in an ashtray and never think of it again. Now we think, where will the stub end up, the ash and the foam and the paper? We grew up imagining that rubbish was taken away, only to find there is no such place as ‘away'. The by-products of our desires are hidden in the earth or burned to make a toxic canopy over our heads: we are aware of that now, and that awareness has grown to feed a spirit of personal regeneration. At some level we recycle not to save the planet, but to free the part of ourselves that is enslaved to the world's goods and the body's functions.

— Andrew O'Hagan, The Things We Throw Away