The Hard, The Fast and The Murky Grey
1. Never send to land fill.
Zero. Nothing. Never. Ever.
Anything we don’t have an answer for yet will be cleaned and stored in the garage. This is where YOU can help. We will post photos of any ‘trouble’ items to ask for your creative and skilled minds to help us find a solution, with the aim of reaching Zero Waste after 12 months.
2. Recycle it.
Many of the products we buy are recyclable. It is just a matter of how easy it is to get that item to where it can be recycled. This will differ depending on;
· Where you live in the world.
· What services are available in your area.
· How much effort you are willing to put into it.
While we explore what really happens to your recycling you will also gain access to a comprehensive list on what can and can’t be recycled. You may be surprised at what you can keep in your shopping list, I sure was!
3. Re-use it.
Before hauling reusable bags off to the store to purchase a new item, look around to see if you have a creative solution to your need. What you already have in your space can be quite a revelation. Many of us accumulate items vaguely aware that they are still ‘good’ or ‘could be useful one day’. Most often these good and useful items end up as frustrating clutter in our cupboards or sheds and when we have a spring cleaning spree, they end up in landfill. By reusing and re-purposing what you already have you will:
· Save money
· Clean up your clutter
· Reduce your landfill waste by both not buying new and not throwing useful items away
· Grow your brain by being creative and innovative.
Win, win, win, win!
4. Re-purpose it.
Re-purposing is not just turning old boots into flower pots or whatever floats your creative boat. Repurposing can apply to all the useful materials that we have available to us every day. Nature re-purposes like a champion. It’s only since us clever, tricky humans invented complex compounds out of natures raw, organic materials, that things like plastic have arrived to plague us with pollution and massive, world scale garbage problems.
One surprising fact about landfill waste is the organic materials in it (food-scraps and food waste) are huge producers of the polluting gasses that form from land fill. The rotting scraps release methane gas 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide in contributing significantly to climate change through additional greenhouse gas emissions. All of that wonderful reusable energy nature put into food then contributes significantly to climate change. The saddest thing is; it’s completely avoidable! By finding ways eliminate organic waste you can personally make a difference to this ludicrous problem.
The waste free me blog will look into waste free solutions for all types of households, no matter if you are in a city apartment, caravan, farm house, share house or suburban property. Sign up here to follow the blog.
The Grey Areas...
We thought long and hard about the parameters for the Waste Free Me project. Do we stop buying anything plastic wrapped? Do we refuse to babysit our little nephews in-case we end up with a non recyclable dirty nappy? Do we include old engine oil out of the car and collect all the used parts for the mechanic after a service??!! After much thought we realised there are hard and fast rules which are non-negotiable and a murky grey area which needs to be explored further.
Just so we are clear, household waste is what we are addressing.
While it would be more ‘waste free friendly’ to gather used syringes from the doctor after routine shots, there are some things which are just not wise to interfere with in the scope of this project. We welcome discussion on all the grey areas and will be looking into them to see where ‘waste free’ can be applied.
Currently the grey areas include:
· Essential medical supplies – Can’t have anyone being sick as a result of not being able to recycle a pill blister packet. (The problem is the marrying of foil and plastic.) Please note the ‘essential’ word here. Some household medical items are available in recyclable jars or bottles if you ask about them. Still, we will be collecting any packets used and storing them in the garage. Watch this space for a solution or send us a message if you have one!
· Hygiene Risks – No, we will not be storing dirty nappies from my nephews in the garage for a year. This is not going to become the Waste Free Me stink fest where friends and family eventually refrain from visiting because of the odour of dead things clings to their clothes after a friendly hello. Unless you have problem visitors, then we don’t recommend storing items that will spoil and cause you health and odour problems. The good news is all smelly items are smelly because they are bio-degradable. The challenge occurs when you mix them with non bio-degradable substances such as the plastic in nappies. Watch this space for some awesome research on what you can use to replace such items.
An important note on ethical recycling and reselling.
Deep inside this murky grey area are a bunch of ethical considerations when reselling or recycling items. If I give my trashed, useless old shoes with worn out soles to a clothing charity, will someone really be buying and wearing them again? You bet your stinky, sweaty feet they will not!
In an ideal situation, we would all know the source of where our products originate and know where their final resting place will be. Only in this way can we make comprehensive, considered choices about where place our money, and therefore our vote, in our consumer practices.
Wherever possible, we will be looking to find out and share as much information as we can about the origin and end destinations of all the waste we deal with.
Please send us your comments, knowledge or suggestions about the ethical considerations of the Waste Free Me project. With your help, we will shine light into the murky grey areas. Especially, let us know if you have a particularly troublesome item and we can try to look into it further.
SEND US YOUR QUESTIONS!