I know, I know, I used a plaster. I bought some Doritos. I'm not perfect. Just doing the best I can. An average familiy of 3 would pump out 750kg of 'residual waste'. Ours is 25kg. Per year.
”Totally pointless. The Chinese have thousands of coal power stations"
Hum. Not sure that is entirely relevant. What is relevant is the developing world takes their cues of what is 'normal' from us in the West. So normalising not spunking our resources into landfill or industrial bonfires has implications beyond just us in the UK.
"Jesus. Go and weave a yogurt jumper tree shagger"
I thought about making yogurt, not into a jumper though. Only for a few seconds though. We are all somewhere on a line between convenience at one end and our environmental impacts at the other. I am on that line roughly at the point of making one's own yogurt.
”You said "one". Just shows what a comfortably off middle class twonk you are. Most people don't have the money for such lofty ideals"
We saved around £1500 by using washable nappies. Certainly in my demographic it is about convenience v. environmental impact. How do you know your demographic... do you have an Aeropress?
“And the time. You have a stay at home wifey who sorts all your waste”
That is it exactly. Except we both have jobs. We find the easiest way is to seperate the material streams as soon as you can. Waste reduction is as much about process and habit as anything else.
"I can smell your smugness through the screen"
Must be a new feature!
"So how did you start down the road of being an grade A smarty pants?”
I was disgusted by how much waste we produced once our baby was born. After we got into washable nappies, I decided to keep our waste for a year to see what it actaully consisted of. Just the non-recyclable stuff.
"That is digusting. Your house must have stunk"
If you seperate all the food waste out, which most councils collect, there is little there to be smelly. Seeing your waste helps focus the mind. After all, there is no 'away'. Most of the stuff you throw 'away' still exists. Like all those toothbrushes.
"But you pay to throw waste away. Why should we sort through waste?”
We pay our councils to provide a range of services, including waste collection. Waste collection costs money. The more we make, the more we spend on it, the less we have for other services. Residual waste costs for every kilo, as we pay per kilo to bury or burn it. So when a company makes or sells packaging it knows full well is unrecyclable, it is passing the cost onto the council tax payer and boosting their bottom line.
"That sounds like a subsidy to me"
A lovely £2.8bn/year subsidy.
"Reducing waste is an attack on fat cats? Now I am interested!"
I prefer to think of it as a civic duty to protect vital services as well as our planet. But whatever works for you!
”So what about those toothbrushes?"
In fact, now I think about it, I am subsidising your behaviour too.
"So what about those toothbrushes?"
I use one with a bamboo handle. You will find many produces have some sort of sustainable alternative. Those green brillo pads for washing up? You can get a coconut fibre one which is equally effective and can be composted. Just change one thing per month. We have been at this for 2.5 years, but we are still moving along that line. The one from consumer convenience focussed environmental vandal to yogurt weaver. Don't do it all at once.
"I wish you would stop banging on with all your greenwash!"
You are asking all the questions!
"I think you are underestimating the high tech nature of brushes and my need for them. Can I change something easier?”
Carry a steel waterbottle. Go back to using the milkman. Sit down to drink a cup of coffe in the cafe. Reducing waste is about having a richer life not a poorer one. Who convinced us carrying a crappy crunchy plastic bottle around was a life enhancing experience? Weird.
"Who has time to drink coffee in a seat!?"
Lazy people like me who do not spend hours and hours every year humping wheelie bins around. I put my bin out once a year.
"And time to hang out with all the beardy types loose weighing lentils into your sandles in whole food shops?"
I would like to have time to do that, but by and large we shop in Sainsburys. Some zero waste types like Bea Johnson are down to annual waste you could put in your palm. We still make 4 bin bags, one per season. It gies back to that line I mentioned. Plus I love Doritos. I am sorry, but I just do.
"You know it all really goes in landfill anyway don't you?"
So, aluminium producers would rather mine the raw materials, ship them over the world and process them at enormous expenses, rather than picking it up from your council? Same for glass, paper, plastics from sand, trees, oil... all nice lightweight things which are cheap and easy to source, move and process. To be fair, the overproduction of certain plastics make the economics of recycling dubious.
"Is there a moral to this story hemp face?"
Reducing waste is not difficult, it is mainly about processes and buying decisions. So essentially it is all about habits. I suppose you just have to find motation to change. I can think of many, but the most powerful at the moment is one I never saw coming. David Attenborough.