Zero Wasters?

Simple living, extreme early retirement, being wealthy, ...
Jason
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Re: Zero Wasters?

Post by Jason » Thu Oct 25, 2018 7:13 am

I went on her website. I have to admit I was more impressed with her vertical than her blog. It looks at least 12 inches and that's with high heels off of some pretty difficult masonry.

jacob
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Re: Zero Wasters?

Post by jacob » Tue Nov 06, 2018 9:02 am

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9swlzlTHqkE&t=180 ... example of how it works. Other than a cultural addiction to plastic, there's no reason a system like this wouldn't work in the US and be rather easy to implement too.

prognastat
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Re: Zero Wasters?

Post by prognastat » Tue Nov 06, 2018 11:50 am

@Jacob

Unfortunately, given how hard some people fight against having to bring their own reusable bags to the grocery store rather than use the disposable plastic bags at the store is in many places in the US I don't see this taking off in much of the US anytime soon.

I'm partially guilty of this myself in that I do sometimes forget my reusable bags, probably once every 4-5 shopping trips.

tonyedgecombe
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Re: Zero Wasters?

Post by tonyedgecombe » Tue Nov 06, 2018 12:35 pm

There was a lot of grumbling in the UK about the introduction of a 5p charge for plastic bags. In the end people just got on with it and plastic bag sales plummeted by about 85%. Amusingly some of the press that campaigned against the idea started taking credit for the success.

prognastat
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Re: Zero Wasters?

Post by prognastat » Tue Nov 06, 2018 12:39 pm

I've seen quite a big difference in the reaction between the Netherlands and the US on this particular topic, might have been different in the UK though.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Zero Wasters?

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Tue Nov 06, 2018 3:37 pm

@jacob:

I like the vegan nomad chick series, and I used to shop at old school food co-ops that used similar system, but I think this might be a realm where price as good proxy for overall energy use/waste applies. Trying to reduce packaging waste at the level of the final consumer can result in more waste further up the stream. For instance, consider what might happen in a year where there is a bumper crop of sweet corn. It's either going to have to be processed to stay edible longer by humans or be fed to livestock or simply dumped/composted. Even if the amount of petroleum used to make the plastic that packages 2 lbs of frozen sweet corn is twice that used to grow the corn itself, that is still 1/3 less energy used per food calorie than livestock feeding. Unless you are purchasing food from the direct producer, I think it is very, very difficult to do the math. The aspirational class preference for "fresh" food * is probably almost exactly as wasteful as it is expensive.

* The rate at which whole wheat flour turns rancid in bin storage is higher than most people might guess, and the nutrient content of the cantaloupe which is harvested unripe and held for 48 hours in a chilled warehouse just north of Mexico before being trucked to Michigan mid-winter to be sold for $3.99 is quite possibly marginal compared to the can of peaches, many of which were imperfect in appearance prior to canning, you can buy for 39 cents.

Riggerjack
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Re: Zero Wasters?

Post by Riggerjack » Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:31 am

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9swlzlTHqkE&t=180 ... example of how it works. Other than a cultural addiction to plastic, there's no reason a system like this wouldn't work in the US and be rather easy to implement too.
Wait. Are you saying that bulk food is rare in the Midwest? Out here on the coast, most grocery stores have a bulk foods section, and at least one "hippie aisle" where they stock the gluten free, cruelty free, sugar free varieties of everything. Grocers aren't stupid. They know the "freer" something is, the higher the profit margins. On the island, plastic bags vs reusable is a status signaling thing, a way to signal that one is more pure than the common rabble.

We have fees for bags. It doesn't make much difference.

jacob
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Re: Zero Wasters?

Post by jacob » Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:37 am

Yes, bulk is rare if you shop at discount stores. No problem if you walk into Whole Paycheck or a health food store. The Polish example is a generic supermarket. It's just the way things are done. Likewise, while things could have changed (it's been 15 years), there was no such thing as a CSA or farmer's market presented as an alternative to the supermarket. There was simply the market and that's where you bought your vegetables. Prices were accordingly low.

Riggerjack
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Re: Zero Wasters?

Post by Riggerjack » Wed Nov 07, 2018 3:19 pm

Wait. You can't get a CSA subscription? Seriously? We have at least 2 on just the South end of the island. They tend to come and go, it's not like previous business experience is necessary to start one. We have a Seattle area CSA that drops in our office every Thursday.

WinCo hit here in the last decade. They didn't do well when they started, but they are doing fine, now. They started as a bigger brighter version of the Piggly wiggly I remember as a kid. So I didn't go back for about 4 years. Now I go occasionally, and they have bulk foods and enough prestige brands to capture locals from going to a whole foods or trader Joe's. Along with the bargain brands.

The only places around here without bulk bins or hippie aisles are convenience stores. Most have both. I can't remember the last time I saw a grocery store without a hippie aisle. Even Walmart makes concessions for hippies. Though not much.

Tell me again about this serendipity that flows from urban areas. It must be very nice indeed to make up for all it seems to displace.

Jin+Guice
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Re: Zero Wasters?

Post by Jin+Guice » Thu Nov 08, 2018 8:26 am

@RJ:

You live in the hippie capital though. Ditto on no bulk sections in any grocery stores except whole foods in the southeastern and northeastern U.S. Of course sample size is limited to my experience but I've been to lots of grocery stores in both regions.

@7w5: This is the part of the problem that makes me reluctant to try very hard or spend drastically more money to buy lentils from the health food store with no bag than the Indian food store. This problem is similar to how I thought about PF before I discovered ERE, which gives a whole framework. Every time I plug a leak I find another has been created.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Zero Wasters?

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Thu Nov 08, 2018 9:11 am

@Jin+Guice:

I shouldn't have come off so harsh on Zero Waste Movement. It makes sense to behave differently in realms where you primarily function or hold the perspective of a consumer than a producer or decomposer. IMO, any time spent dumpster diving or growing own food would be better use of time than finicking around with glass jars and bins some poor worker likely had to haul around 40 lb. bags to fill. IOW, my ecological aesthetic is more in alignment with learning to tolerate some dirt and decay rather than scrubbing artificial boundaries squeaky clean. MMV and likely should-lol.

Jin+Guice
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Re: Zero Wasters?

Post by Jin+Guice » Thu Nov 08, 2018 10:31 am

@7w5: I disagree that you were too harsh given the wheaton level of the audience. My assumption is that most of us would like to reduce our waste and have given some thought into doing so (or at least why doing so is not worth the effort). We're also more prone to "extreme" solutions. It seems to me based on the answers given and thinking about the problem for a month, I'm better off working to increase dumpster diving/ gardening skills than spending a lot of time/ effort/ money to reduce my consumption waste to zero.

Additionally, the low hanging zero-waste fruit of bringing a backpack to the store and bringing my own plastic veggie bags/ not using them has been easily picked. I've also decided to stop buying produce at costco, which automatically comes in a bag and start buying it at closer grocery stores where I can buy it with no bag. This is less of a zero-waste based decision and more of an I'm tired of using 5 old carrots in every dish because they will soon go bad decision. It also allows me to eliminate more car based trips to costco. I'll still get processed foods like bread, cheese and tofu from costco because it's cheapest and buying in bulk maybe reduces waste. I'm not likely going to learn how to make these items any time soon with the exception of cheese, mainly because I've tried and failed several times and I don't want to be defeated. Perhaps the real win was a reevaluation of my grocery strategy, which I optimized for least cost/ food weight a few years ago.

The sole remaining problem is lentils, beans and spices. Do I continue to buy them zero-waste from my nemesis at the walkable (but lame) "food co-op" at quadruple prices or do I buy them, in bulk, bagged from the Indian food store which is only accessible by car and far from my house?

The real insights from this thread for me have been, when it smells like decreasing marginal returns to effort it usually is decreasing marginal returns to effort and sometimes those proselytizing about reducing waste should be, counterintuitively, allowed to take transatlantic flights.

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