As I’ve progressed to minimalise through my lifestyle, not just my possessions. I’ve seen a lot of waste. I’ve always seen waste and I try my best to reduce it where I can.
Originally my job of I.T. technician by day (and Batman by night), I’d see so many computers that would get tossed, and a lot of them still in working condition of some sort. While they still go to e-recycling, there is still some use for other computers that might be old. But, for every old computer I see go to recycling, I also see a new PC installed. They come in a box, wrapped in plastic, padded with foam which doesn’t degrade, and in Australia can’t go into recycling either.
Back around 2008, Hewlett-Packard released a laptop that came with 97% less packaging as a challenge from Wal-mart and Dell has a half decent recycling program with their packaging before it even makes it to your home. HP’s packaging never really took off, which is a bit of a shame. I’ve noticed every cable at work for a monitor is excessively packaged, even the old analogue style cables which we no longer use and toss into recycling. Plastic cables on each end with foam padding, rubber bands and cable ties to hold it all together neatly. Given the cables cost no more than a dollar it’s not going to break the bank if they send another every now and then.
Many Australians would have seen a tv show recently called the War on Waste. While a lot of this I already had good knowledge of, it was still opening my eyes to better ways to handle my waste, but also limit it by being more thoughtful with my consumption and purchases. If I buy something now I think about where it’s going to end up.
There’s also a lot of supermarkets pushing the perfect looking product. Your fruits and vegetables, meats and dairy. Leading to a lot of waste at the farmer’s end, when it should be on our shelves or in the hands of charities like Food Bank who make use of it for the needy.
I hadn’t finished watching the three-part series yet. But I’m sure it will bring more to the front of my mind.
I already try to eliminate what goes into my general waste, anything that’s biodegradable was going in will now go into recycling or composting (pending my purchase for a compost bin and worms).
In the past, I’ve read articles which have given me more thought into my waste but hadn’t actioned them so much. But like I’ve said before “It’s a process”. The inventor of the coffee capsule (K-Cups), noted for its convenience, consistency and cleanliness. But makes shitty coffee. Went on to say later in life he regretted the invention because of the landfill with plastic it created, billions of plastic pods that aren’t biodegradable and are killing our planet.
Another article I read was about a woman who lived a zero-waste lifestyle and was able to fit a year of her general waste into a mason jar. Recycled materials were low, food scraps were composted. It takes some serious thought and commitment, and I can bet it was a long process to get to that point too.
It’s one process to sort your recycling and compost your food scraps, but have you thought as to where your general waste is going? If it’s going to the right places?
At the moment, this is just a solution to an already existing problem. But I think we also need prevention, but fewer things in plastic, or is there an alternative to using plastic like recycled paper bags or no plastic at all?
My brain kept ticking over with these thoughts, which is funny as it rarely doesn’t tick over at all. But I had more after watching Mission Blue on Netflix. The Coral Sea is dying due to “bleaching” caused by global warming, and recently the Great Barrier Reef was declared irreparable. In the 1970’s there was one oil rig off the Gulf of Mexico. There are now over 30,000, our need for oil to make fuel and other by-products are seeing us suck the planet dry of every resource we can get, and resources are limited. We all saw what happened with that big oil leak didn’t week? A nice big ol’ clusterfuck that was. Big enough to get Mark Wahlberg in on it.
Most of the plastic found in the ocean would break down over time, but never degrade and become natural matter again. It will end up at the bottom of the ocean, floating in the water, or ingested by our marine life. Including the many fish we consume every year, that’s right. You’re eating that coke bottle you tossed out the car window in 1998. You wouldn’t eat plastic, so why leave it around to go into our waters and harm marine life?
Having seen all this, I’m looking at ways to reduce the amount of waste that goes into my house, but also the amount that comes in as well. I’m intending to be more thoughtful at the source. Fewer plastics and waste in my kitchen, and my bathroom. But also fewer chemicals used to clean kitchens, bathrooms and laundries, and fewer processed foods and packaging into my refrigerator and my body.
I now have a commitment to look at ways of reducing waste, both in and out of the house. Using or buying less that will end up as waste, to be more sustainable and nicer on the environment. I don’t see this as a hard task, just committing, researching and staying focused.
I guess towards the end of the year I’ll update on the progress and see if I got anywhere with my findings. Right, I’m off to Bunnings for a snag and a compost bin.