27 March 2011


Waste Not...

I recently read an article about this family who has little to no waste and hardly any recycling (go directly to her blog here).  Since we are trying to consume less and less, it naturally piqued my interest.

They are a family of four, so although they only have one less person in their house they only produce enough garbage waste to fill a small container.  I could hardly believe it was possible, but I was hopeful for some tips and tricks to put in our pocket.  

But after I finished reading the article and visiting their blog, I had mixed feelings.

It's true that they do many things to reduce their consumption, and it's true that she actively advocates for less waste by emailing, writing and calling companies to encourage them to find less wasteful alternatives when packaging items.  

But it's also true that when a piece of "garbage" comes into their home, her solution to keeping it out of their personal waste bin is to send it back to its place of origin (see her answers to the Netflix envelope papers and the wrapper her son brought home from a pair of 3d glasses at the movie theater).

While I certainly understand her reasoning behind these actions (she sent them back along with a letter asking the companies to change their practices), technically these items are still being consumed by this family, and this waste is their responsibility.  Sending it to another trash can seems somewhat disingenuous, doesn't it?

I do credit her for their personal changes, and I myself have enjoyed reading some of her ideas for alternatives to things like makeup, food buying, etc.  The waste idea is particularly interesting because trash is only collected at our house every 2 weeks.  The off weeks are for "plant waste" which pretty much includes anything but meat.  It's a good alternative to composting since we don't really have any cultivatable land. The recycling program is quite strenuous here as well, but even with all these alternatives, it still took some changes to decrease our garbage enough to only be collected twice a month.

I feel a little nitpick-y here, but it is Soapbox Sunday, so if I'm every going to nitpick, today is the day.

What do you think?  Friend or foe?  Are her ideas workable?  Any converts?

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