How much do you worry about waste?

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heyhey
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Re: How much do you worry about waste?

Post by heyhey »

I think the best way to effect change is often simply by being an example, without saying anything. The people who are open to change will pick up on what you are doing (while they may be turned off by 'crusading'). The others will not change, whatever you do - or they might, later, if they are presented with enough good examples, of which you are one.

For example with the takeout containers when you eat with friends, you can just wash them at the end of the evening, and then say you'll take them to recycle. As if like anyone would have done that, obviously, but it just happens to be you this time. (and the next, and the next, until someone else does it - and you have to let them!)

George the original one
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Re: How much do you worry about waste?

Post by George the original one »

Jacob wrote:Consider bottle/can recycling. MI gives 10c back. Most states (NY, CA, ...) give 5c back. And a few states (IL, IN) doesn't given anything. As a result of this policy, MI return rates are some 97%! The 5c states return a little less than half. And IL returns are just a smidgen.
To top it off, consider that Oregon's 5c deposit started round about 1973, when a can of pop purchased individually was 20c-25c.

cmonkey
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Re: How much do you worry about waste?

Post by cmonkey »

jacob wrote:there was a big discussion about climate change in my family over xmas and everybody agreed that the planet is being rendered increasingly unliveable.
Well at least they admit its happening. I still regularly hear folks talking about how its all made up because 'the government'.

+1 to the baby comment though, I thought I was the only one that thought about how weird it is that people will complain about population-related issues and then turn around and get all excited about more babies being born. Admittedly I find the hypocrisy difficult to overcome as well. :|
Peanut wrote:As long as your book, blog, or forum are out there you haven't given up! There can be no doubt that you have had a positive effect on reducing excess waste through those mediums, but a lot of it will remain unknown to you. What you do know about is just a percentage, probably small, of the whole impact you've had.
+1 to this. Most of the impact you've had is definitely 'unknowable'. 2015 has been one of the most transformative years of my life and its all because of the blog/forum. On the scale of college and getting married.

I'm sure there are hundreds of others who can say similar things.

jacob
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Re: How much do you worry about waste?

Post by jacob »

Yes, I think it's on the scale of high-hundreds maybe even a few thousand ... but that's out of 1--7+ billion. Hence the focus on local...

http://www.all-creatures.org/stories/starfish.html

Peanut
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Re: How much do you worry about waste?

Post by Peanut »

@Riggerjack: I appreciate hearing the biographical context for your position. I have at different times encountered different arguments (cf. ex of lead debate) so I was looking for some shortcuts from people who I know have already dug deeper into some of these issues. In this arena I tend to assume the truth is even worse than the worst conventional wisdom, so it's encouraging to hear the opposite.

@disparatum: If that was not just a theoretical question about disposable 'green' diapers--it's my understanding that landfills are really not like composters and nothing degrades very well in them. I'd go with cloth and if I lived in CA maybe reuse bath water to wash?

@cmonkey: I'm sure I've read that humans are evolutionarily programmed to think babies are cute. (Questionable). But I guess it means it'd be odd if you weren't excited about them, despite what they represent.

Riggerjack
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Re: How much do you worry about waste?

Post by Riggerjack »

OK, I'll get into lead a bit.
First, there is an abatement industry, with a highly paid lobbying arm. Mainly because the industry exists because of lawyers and congress. I'm most familiar with abatement from the bottom, the guys working in abatement. 15 years ago, these guys were gearing up for lead as the next big thing.

Lead is toxic, no question. The problem is, with most toxics, the dose makes the poison. By this I mean there are acceptable levels most poisons, levels with no detectable effect. There is even acceptable levels of arsenic in drinking water. When you increase the dose, you increase the toxicity.

Lead is not like that. The toxicity of lead is most strongly associated with particle size. This is why lead in paint and lubes is more of a problem than, say, lead solder in pipes.

When you Google lead poisoning, you will see the phrase "there is no established safe level of lead." This is abatement marketing, and its everywhere in lead searches.

Back to lead, it oxidizes on the surface, and then is almost inert. As an example, there was an army study of lead content in the water at an old army firing range. I used to be the company armorer back when I was in, and when I ran ranges, we would use 8000 rounds for M-16 qualifying. That was in a day. I had to reserve ranges 3 months out, to get a weekday. The range in the study had been used for 40 years. Old ammo was straight lead, unjacketed. They tested ground water and water from puddles with oxidized rounds sitting in them. All samples were still passing drinking water quality tests. This study is available online, if you search for it. I dug into this, because I shoot on my land, and drink my well water. Again, no links, I looked this up years ago.

If you want more good news in waste, Google mycology and toxic waste. There are big developments going on there.

7Wannabe5
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Re: How much do you worry about waste?

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

Like Riggerjack, I've made some of my living over the years in the discard business, so as would be expected according to the chart on states of emotion towards flow, I tend to worry less, but think more about waste than many of my peers.

I think learning about and possibly implementing something like this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4OmYsS2lHPY

would be a more interesting use of my time/energy than delivering a lecture on the topic of waste to a germaphobe wrapping the human manure fed tilapia* she is purchasing in an extra layer of plastic.

There is an abundance of textiles (t-shirt with jam stain, large sheet with torn corner,etc, etc) available for free on the discard market in my neighborhood. There are also a lot of people willing to work for the cost of a pack of cigarettes. Should I establish a micro-quilt-and-rag-rug-producing industry?

I wasted a bunch of sunlight growing chicory (well, really just letting it grow) on one of my vacant lots this summer because I still haven't gone to the trouble to figure out how to harvest and process it into a substance useful in the creation of a French Vietnamese Au Lait. Etc.etc.etc.etc.

So, there is probably almost an infinity of lectures I need to deliver to myself on the topic of waste, if I was inclined to do such a thing. There is certainly an infinity of realms where my skills are weak in relationship to the challenge offered, so I might be inclined towards worry, if I did not acknowledge that I am mere mortal.

* When I learn that imported tilapia is sometimes fed on human manure, I just wonder whether tilapia are a "good" decomposer of human manure, because shit happens. Could I feed tilapia on dog manure in an aquaponics system?

cmonkey
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Re: How much do you worry about waste?

Post by cmonkey »

Peanut wrote:But I guess it means it'd be odd if you weren't excited about them, despite what they represent.
I think it would mean you are either a sociopath or you have somehow overcome the limited template that our genetics provide.

KevinW
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Re: How much do you worry about waste?

Post by KevinW »

heyhey wrote:I think the best way to effect change is often simply by being an example, without saying anything. The people who are open to change will pick up on what you are doing (while they may be turned off by 'crusading').
+1, I think waste reduction is an area where "...be the change you want to see in the world" is good advice.

You have control over how much waste your own household produces, and minimizing that will certainly help incrementally, so do that. And for some reason, people are very defensive about being overtly told to reduce waste, so intervention doesn't work very well.

Other people will see what you're doing, and your visible example will encourage a few people to do the same thing.

And, voting with your feet will encourage society in general to waste less. E.g., it is now considered socially acceptable to have a coffee shop fill a reusable container, and chains like Starbucks will accommodate that. It's a small thing, but that kind of thing doesn't happen until a critical mass of people all push for the same thing.

Ydobon
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Re: How much do you worry about waste?

Post by Ydobon »

A lot! I worry about waste all the time :shock:

I worry about how much gas and electricity we are using, I get guilty when I drive the car, it annoys me when I can't recycle something that can't be re-used and Christmas is a paritcularly stressful time as you try to shuffle around unsolicited crappy gifts that can't be used by the family.

Still, I have managed to give up on trying to convert others, it doesn't work (one of the few things from 'How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World' that I actually agreed with). Wife is now very much onboard, but that is probably just as a result of osmosis though close proximity to crazy recycling husband :lol:

I feel like I'm now pretty much on top of my own personal war on waste since we moved house. Our new council/local government is pretty progressive and takes a hard line on recycling. We reduced the amount we sent to landfill to 25% of what it used to be, we have reduced power consumption by 25%+ and we now generate some of our own electricity. Working on avoiding picking stuff up in the first place, but it can be quite difficult with young children.

Off on a tangent now, but had a long think about whether I'm doing this to gain 'love' from others (currently reading 'Status Anxiety'!) and I can truthfully say that I passed that point long ago. The planet is a good thing = reducing resource consumption and waste can only be good for the planet.

drachma
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Re: How much do you worry about waste?

Post by drachma »

How do y'all get around paper towels?

I find them invaluable in keeping a clean kitchen and bathroom as I wipe down most surfaces with white vinegar after each use. I have tried rags but you just end up needing an excessive amount of rags unless you are washing them daily; and if you aren't washing them daily you end up with a bucket of scummy rags which is quite gross.

Lets say a rag gets dirty after the equivalent uses of 5 paper towels; is the environmental impact of washing the rag (soap, possibly hot water) more or less than that of creating and disposing of 5 sheets of paper towel?

I saw a similar argument for paper coffee cups; the energy used to wash a re-usable mug was supposedly more than it was worth in terms of paper cups. (can't find the source again, obviously).

Also there is more to it than just boiling everything down to raw energy; where that energy comes from is important too (is it renewable, and how fast?) But it's food for thought anyway.

GandK
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Re: How much do you worry about waste?

Post by GandK »

drachma wrote:How do y'all get around paper towels?
A good set of microfiber cleaning cloths (I own 8) will clean most things well with just water, including mirrors. Add vinegar to the water for disinfecting. Add lemon or orange oil to the water for dusting. This works well on everything you'd use a paper towel for. I use one microfiber cloth per day, and wash them with the regular laundry. (I clean one room in my home per day; this works out well.)

However... although paper towels have no place in my life, I have a pathetic and completely inexplicable attachment to Brillo pads. If anyone can help with THAT, I'd be most grateful.

jacob
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Re: How much do you worry about waste?

Post by jacob »

@GandK - [Dish] brush followed by a copper or steel scourer---but the brush should be enough. Important to get the gunk off first with the brush to avoid fouling the scourer more than necessary. Things are a lot easier to clean immediately after they got dirty than when the dirt is "baked in" or layered up. Might be an obvious point ... so obvious that it's easily ignored.

It's pretty hard to get good reusable (just wash on hot/90C) cleaning products in the US. Most of the stuff is designed to be disposable. I import mine from overseas.

http://www.harald-nyborg.dk/p2576/multi ... 0cm-10-stk
http://www.harald-nyborg.dk/p10611/gulv ... 0-cm-3-stk

shade-tree
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Re: How much do you worry about waste?

Post by shade-tree »

@peanut. Good discussion topic. I'll just say, YES, I worry about this quite a lot. I make many decisions every week based on what to purchase or not based on the non-biodegradable waste (I.e. plastic) it would produce. I compost all my food scraps. But, my weakness is paper towels. They are so handy in the kitchen. And compostable!

Riggerjack
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Re: How much do you worry about waste?

Post by Riggerjack »

Wait.
Jacob, you have your water heater set at 90c?

jacob
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Re: How much do you worry about waste?

Post by jacob »

No idea. It has a continuous dial with "vacation", "warm", dot, "hot". It's set at the dot. Why?

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jennypenny
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Re: How much do you worry about waste?

Post by jennypenny »

celsius?

enigmaT120
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Re: How much do you worry about waste?

Post by enigmaT120 »

Water at 90 degrees C. would clean most things.

Riggerjack
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Re: How much do you worry about waste?

Post by Riggerjack »

WA state law requires I set water heater at 125f in rentals, to reduce chances of accidental scalding. 90c is 194f. Seriously scalding.

The hotter the water in the tank, them more heat is lost to the surrounding area. (The greater the temperature difference, the more heat will transfer thru a surface the same size with the same resistance,) this is less of an issue in predominantly heating environments, with the water heater inside the heat envelope. The water heater and piping just becomes an auxiliary heater in that case.

Setting the temp higher, allows the use of a smaller tank, as the hot water will be diluted with more cold to get a desired temperature.

Jacob, you tend to over think these things, and you gave a specific 90c reference, so I was just curious as to your reasoning. The dot is probably close to 125f.

vexed87
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Re: How much do you worry about waste?

Post by vexed87 »

@Riggerjack, my washing machine has temperature adjustment, and heats its own water from a cold water pipe, maybe jacob means he selected 90c on his washing machine dial, rather than having set his boiler water to 90c, as you say, that wouldn't be fun in the shower. ;)

I wash my dish cloths at 90c too, otherwise they tend to smell something awful and SO throws them out, I have yet to convince her they are reusable sigh. I have to hide them from her. I hate waste too!! I tend to soak them in a small amount of chlorine bleach as they accumulate so they don't stink out the utility room while I wait to have enough to justify the load.

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