The Value of Trash
The Value of Trash
We all know the expression ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’. Well let’s take a closer look and understand the real truth behind it. First we need to define the words trash and treasure within the capitalistic system. Treasure means value. Every product has value. As long as it’s part of the production process it has a price. For example in the fruit business the value starts from the very seed itself (or the labs…) and goes on to the tree, the pickers, delivery services etc. During all the processes the value varies but it’s there all the way until you buy an apple from the market and eat it. Then as well as the product, the value disappears. What about all the apples that you didn’t buy? Or all of those that are bruised or deformed or just too many? We all know where they end up – in the dumpster.
Well let’s talk about trash. What exactly is it? Has it any value? If yes, how could it be waste? If no, how could certain industries profit from it? Maybe both are wrong.
Everything that ends up as waste is out of the production process as it requires resources that offer no profit in return for the producer. If shops could just throw their garbage on the field, they certainly would but they are required to pay for ‘delivery’ to a designated waste factory where everything is recycled, burned, packed etc. Thing is, that once the trash ends up in the garbage trucks it gains value once more as it becomes part of another production process that creates profit.
So here is the tricky part. Trash has what I call anti-value only for that short amount of time when it stops being part of the first production process (produce-sell-consume) and hasn’t yet gained value by the next production process (the garbage industry). It sits there in the shop-owned bins and waits to move on.
And there’s our chance! Once we get a hold of the garbage in this state we have all the power to put any kind of value to it. And that’s the beauty of trash!
We fight for local production of goods - well let’s celebrate that with a Peruvian avocado - Japanese persimmon dip! We stand against animal exploitation and daily put our own lives at risk to save them – well I say congratulations with a bite of that gourmet French cheese. We say no to the millions of deaths and enslavement that the alcohol industry creates? Cheers to that with a glass of the finest champagne! Want to go fight child labor? Let me just jump into my Nike sneakers. Why? Because it is all trash. It is absolutely nothing. It is everything. That’s what anti-value is – the infinite possibility to make objects the most precious, the most hated or the most useless things in the universe. So whether you want to live a minimalistic lifestyle or would like to dive in the materialistic world of consumerism, whether you want to wear leather or cotton, eat cheese or tofu – just go for it! Whatever your desires are you may fulfill them in the land of trash. And as long as you keep it that way you cannot and should not be judged by anyone! Because anything anybody says about objects of anti-value is totally subjective. Some people see in certain objects of anti-value the value they used to have while still in that production process and connect it to all the negatives it used to carry i.e. human exploitation, animal slavery, waste of resources etc. But that is not so. Objects, considered waste by the system lose all those attributes and are left only with their pure form – fruit form the other side of the world is just food, leather is just a useful material and clothes from sweat-shops are just something to keep you warm.
It’s even encouraging to use as many objects of anti-value as possible. By putting your own value to objects like that you decrease the one of the objects still in the production process and actually support your personal views and fights. Let’s say you are an animal rights activist and you find a ton of eggs. What do you do? Smash them or leave them? That doesn’t sound right. No. You start giving them away. A ton of eggs with anti-value will destroy the value of a ton of eggs which are still in production. You actually inflict economic damage to your enemies.
Remember, trash is neutral. It’s up to you how and if you are going to put it to better personal or collective use.