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Triumphing over waste (?)

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I just wanted to share a satisfying triumph for today that really has nothing to do with me.  I took delivery today on two new divan bases (a long, drawn out story of trying to find an ideal bed) and the month’s groceries.  In that whole process, I managed to only throw one thing away, which is what I find satisfying.

So, the beds came wrapped in big, heavy recyclable plastic bags and cardboard ends.  I will use the plastic to wrap up the old frame, which is being sold on Ebay, and the cardboard ends will be recycled after Daughter has had a chance to play with them for a while.  (I see the potential for doll beds and houses, but we’ll see what she comes up with.)  So there are two beds, unpacked, and an old frame disassembled, with nothing going into the garbage.  How is that for a closed loop?

The groceries also came today, irritatingly bagged in plastic shopping bags, which I detest.  However, I can either pass the bags on to Daughter’s school, which uses them for taking things home, or recycle them by handing them back to the deliveryman.  I usually pass them on to Daughter’s school, but recycle any Daughter brings home.  All of the bags that produce comes in are recycled in a similar manner, and the clear plastic ones I can use again get washed and rotated into our plastic bag pile.

The majority of the month’s groceries are either in recyclables like plastic bags or tins, or in tetra paks, which are recyclable in our council if you take them to specific recycling points (I have a spotty track record on doing this).  One or two things are in non-recyclable film, which was what I ended up throwing away today.  Even better, almost all of the produce was from the UK, England even, save for a bag of apples from France and a bag of peppers from Spain.  Granted, everything I ordered was more or less in season, like potatoes, cabbage, apples, pears, carrots, leeks, and swede, but that is what is tasty at this time of year too.

I decided to share this not because I want you to have a window into my obsessive little world, but because this is how I think the world can and should work.  Packaging should be minimal and recyclable (tetra paks included, Southwark Council!), food should be relatively local and in season, and waste should be easily kept to a minimum.  Imagine how much easier life would be if you only had to throw one or two things into the garbage a day.  Clearly it is possible, so why isn’t it common?


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