Zero Wasters?

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

Post by Jean » Fri Oct 12, 2018 8:05 am

I think one need to aknowledge that at some point, every idea will be followed religiously, and that one need to formulates those idea in a way that will result in desired behavior when they come to the mind of religiously wired peoples.

jennypenny
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Re: Zero Wasters?

Post by jennypenny » Fri Oct 12, 2018 8:06 am

I'm not sure why people are so down on Bea Johnson. I don't remember everyone criticizing Marie Kondo, even though her minimizing advice inevitably leads to an obscene amount of trash. In the Kondo thread, people focused on the front end (results from minimizing) instead of the backend (too much trash) and ignored Kondo's travel habits promoting her lifestyle. If I had to guess at why the disparity, I'd say Kondo is not seen as part of the green movement while Johnson is, therefore Johnson is judged by different standards. Not sure if that's fair?

The best part of the Kondo exercise is the effect it has on people going forward -- less accumulation of unnecessary stuff. I'd say reading Johnson's book has the same effect. Thumbs up.

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chenda
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Re: Zero Wasters?

Post by chenda » Fri Oct 12, 2018 8:55 am

@jennypenny Yes, the minimalism community seems to focus more on aesthetics and personal development, overlaps with zero waste and veganism, but appears to have less of the politics and infighting. Either way, it's all good.

suomalainen
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Re: Zero Wasters?

Post by suomalainen » Fri Oct 12, 2018 9:51 am

jacob wrote:
Fri Oct 12, 2018 7:18 am
Isn't that how every religion or ideology works? Or perhaps more accurately how every idea works when humans pursue it religiously or ideologically?
...
In that sense, the impact of an idea should not be judged by who promotes it but by how it is followed.
I dunno. I think this gives promoters a free pass, sparks the "hypocrite" debate, and frankly is the reason I don't trust religions.

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Re: Zero Wasters?

Post by jacob » Fri Oct 12, 2018 10:10 am

This thread is beginning to resemble the FIRE reaching critical mass thread. I prefer to understand this controversy as a "Wheaton-1" vs "Wheaton" dichotomy(*) in which the latter think that the former are going an okay job but really... they could try a little harder and they're ignoring this, this, and that factor.

(*) Where level 6 is arguing that level 5 is not doing a good enough job while ignoring that level 5 is still doing better than levels 4, 3, 2, 1, 0, -1, ...

It's very easy to fall into that one.

@jp - +1

@chenda - Yes, if one looks at the previous incarnation of "minimalism" (from 2005-now) it was called "simple living" (from 1995 to 2005?) and had a less consumerist bend than the current version. Not that minimalists are consumers in the absolute sense, but they (or maybe just the proponents?) do have a significantly^H^H^HSIGNIFICANTLY higher focus on what the perfect minimalist set of apple utensils, merino wool undershirts, and $700 mattresses continually updating and optimizing what to put into their latest minimalist designer backpack. This was not the behavior of the "simple living" movement.

@Jean/Soumalainen - I think this depends on whether one sees religion/ideology as the end or the means to an end. In practical terms, I don't think promoters initially perceive it as a means to an end. This happens later. I think the process is somewhat akin to this whether we're talking Linux or Christianity for that matter: https://meaningness.com/geeks-mops-sociopaths

suomalainen
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Re: Zero Wasters?

Post by suomalainen » Fri Oct 12, 2018 10:55 am

Fair enough. But whether it happens earlier or later, I despise sociopaths/self promoters. Maybe it's a necessary or natural part of human organizational behavior (i.e., organizing mops) that does or could result in a higher good, but the disingenuousness turns me off to the human, not to the product.

Perhaps the slope and speed of the journey from "end" to "means to an end" could/should be managed by those non-sociopathic (slightly evil) promoters who don't want to distract from the message.

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Jin+Guice
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Re: Zero Wasters?

Post by Jin+Guice » Fri Oct 12, 2018 10:52 pm

@jacob: Man, that essay does an excellent job of describing a phenomenon I've witnessed and thought about before but never come close to being able to put into words.

Assuming I've already stopped dry tumbling... what would the details be?

@jp: A valid criticism of the criticism. I support the movement but am frustrated with how difficult it can become and also with its blindspots. As an ardent defender of MMM in the FIRE reaching critical mass thread it's a useful reminder that Bea Johnson is basically getting most of it right and started (or at least drastically increased the public awareness) of the movement.

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theanimal
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Re: Zero Wasters?

Post by theanimal » Fri Oct 12, 2018 11:05 pm

I'm intrigued by zero waste. I made a threar a few years ago linking to a similar movement that was more comprehensive about having zero impact. Not sure what the name is now and too lazy to look it u. It was radical something or other.

I go through about 1 20 gallon container of trash per month, with the bulk of that being food waste. Taking inventory now of my five gallon bucket reveals paper / cardboard compromising about 50% Plastics at 30 to 35% and the remaining aluminum. The remeaning Plastics I could cut down another 20% with a few minor changes. I'm one of those heathens who uses plastic bags for produce. That can stop. I do reuse the bags and may just bring them to transport home from now on. I'm going to use old peanut butter jars and get bulk peanut butter from the store. Other things like condiments are more difficult. Some you can make your own, like Mayo which I haven't done yet but heard is great. Oil is another difficult option if you want to buy in bulk. Alternatives are glass($$$), butter and animal fat. Not sure about this one.

The only issue I foresee is that many bulk products come in plastic containers while lesser options can come in glass. Soy sauce is one obvious example. I guess going with the lesser evil is best. Living in AK, I do buy frozen veggies in winter. Those exclusively come in plastic bags. I think my only alternative there is to grow my own and store away.

Alaska is pretty poor when it comes to recycling but apparently there was a new center that opened up last year. I'll have to dig deeper.

Looking forward to implementing some changes.

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7Wannabe5
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Re: Zero Wasters?

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Mon Oct 15, 2018 11:14 am

@jennypenny:

I didn't like the Marie Kondo book either. I guess I prefer a more "folksy" style if intended audience is supposed to be general, and a more self-aware, reflective and/or rigorously objective style if intended audience is supposed to be a level or two more informed.

Also, I have had the experience of being a homemaker supported by a low-income SO vs. a high income SO, and there is a world of difference in frugal behaviors a person will adopt because they are actually needful in the moment vs. attempt to regain some sense of meaning in context of "ladies who lunch" lifestyle. I think I touched on this on other thread, but one bit from the "Tightwad Gazette" that always stuck with me was Amy Dacyzyn's hard-nosed observations on the kind of compromises that will likely have to be made at first if/when you find yourself attempting to bootstrap in a situation in which you have neither spare time or money. The example she offered being having to buy bread at the thrift bakery before being able to afford the time to bake from scratch. OTOH, Johnson starts from the point of being the not-employed wife of a VERY affluent man. It's analogous to how middle-class housewives were better able to keep clean households than very poor working and recently immigrated women in the early 20th century.

EdithKeeler
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Re: Zero Wasters?

Post by EdithKeeler » Fri Oct 19, 2018 7:03 pm

I’ve lately become dismayed about the amount of trash I generate. Plastic plastic plastic! I recently switched to shampoo bars to avoid the plastic shampoo bottles.

But it is really hard. There is so much packaging! I’m aware of Johnson, have seen a couple of articles.

But zero waste is pretty easy to see when you step back 100 years or so. My grandparents were pretty much zero waste before it was trendy. My grandma made dresses from flour sacks, they raised almost all their own food, and used clothing became quilts or braided rugs.

I bought a cucumber the other day at Kroger and didn’t put it in a plastic bag. A fellow shopper and the lady who checked me out both asked if I needed a bag, and when I declined, I detected a bit of a nose-wrinkle. People, I’m going to wash it!

We (as a society) put a lot of faith in recycling, but it costs a lot of energy and time to sort and process, and from stuff I’ve read, I think we’re still losing the battle.

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Jin+Guice
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Re: Zero Wasters?

Post by Jin+Guice » Fri Oct 19, 2018 10:31 pm

@EK: You are capturing my sentiment exactly. I'm pretty conscious but I still generate SO MUCH trash. 100 years ago basically no one was generating any trash. How do we get back to that? Are we just incapable or has the world shifted in a way that makes not generating much trash very difficult? I'm too far removed from 100 years ago and the processes by which things get to me to have any idea.

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Re: Zero Wasters?

Post by jacob » Sat Oct 20, 2018 7:27 am

EdithKeeler wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 7:03 pm
...and used clothing became [...] braided rugs.
Doh! This is a good idea that I obviously didn't think about. I actually made a peg loom for DW's birthday some years ago. It just never occurred to me to rip old t-shirts to shreds (instead of adding them to the abundance of rags I already have) and use them for rugs or doggy blankets, ...

So my to my embarrassment, the peg loom has gone unused after the first skein of thick yarn was consumed into a two sqft "blanket". Grrr...

I think I noticed because I recently finished http://www.moneylessmanifesto.org/why-free/ where it's mentioned. Now that I think of it, wasn't rag-weaving a big thing back in the 1970s? I gotta check some references.

oldbeyond
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Re: Zero Wasters?

Post by oldbeyond » Sat Oct 20, 2018 7:52 am

To me this cluster of partly overlapping movements(FIRE, permaculture, minimalism, zero waste etc) gives you different perspectives on the same issue, hopefully helping you integrate your web of goals(ERE integrating all of them into a higher level philosophy). I think its a good habit to keep in touch with all of them, because it's easy to become to focused on one variable(SWR, yield, number of possessions, pounds of trash) to the detriment of the big picture. I know it is for me anyway. I think trash lends a great perspective, trying to minimize it you'll:

- Use stuff longer/reuse/refashion
- Buy used
- Buy in bulk
- Buy better quality/sturdier/more resilient/more easily fixable stuff
- Use/own less stuff

Quite familiar I think. Of course there are pitfalls like driving all over town to avoid getting three plastic bags with your apples or something, but that's quite easy to avoid with some thinking. Not throwing babies out with the bathwater and all that.

For us, and I think for a lot of people, it seems like food packaging is really the main source of thrash. I try to minimize plastics here, as metal, glass and paper seems easier to recycle. We have a great recycling infrastructure available to us, including municipal composting(they make biogas + fertilizer out of our food scraps/coffee grounds/peels). I think a lot of plastic gets incinerated though.

EdithKeeler
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Re: Zero Wasters?

Post by EdithKeeler » Sat Oct 20, 2018 8:35 am

Doh! This is a good idea that I obviously didn't think about. I actually made a peg loom for DW's birthday some years ago. It just never occurred to me to rip old t-shirts to shreds (instead of adding them to the abundance of rags I already have) and use them for rugs or doggy blankets,
I recall that your DW crochets as well. Lots of patterns for crocheted rugs from old t-shirts and sheets online. Personally I like the coil and crochet method
https://mypoppet.com.au/makes/coil-croc ... c-rug-diy/

But there’s also things like this:
https://www.thesprucecrafts.com/how-to- ... ugs-979195

And fancier:
http://www.creativejewishmom.com/2013/0 ... rsion.html

EdithKeeler
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Re: Zero Wasters?

Post by EdithKeeler » Sat Oct 20, 2018 9:25 am

@EK: You are capturing my sentiment exactly. I'm pretty conscious but I still generate SO MUCH trash. 100 years ago basically no one was generating any trash. How do we get back to that? Are we just incapable or has the world shifted in a way that makes not generating much trash very difficult? I'm too far removed from 100 years ago and the processes by which things get to me to have any idea.
I don’t know. When I step back, it’s really impossible to see how you can make things work (less packaging, etc) the way we’re currently set up in cities and suburbs. I mean, you can’t commute, plus work an 8-10 hour a day job, then work your garden plot in your suburban yard, and trade your vegetables for your neighbors’ milk and cheese and rabbit meat. And you’re never going to have enough to eat raising tomatoes and strawberries on your condo’s patio.

We can’t have it all, I don’t think: a sophisticated knowledge-worker society with dense population pockets and zero waste, artisan food, etc. Just seems impossible to me.

I do think that even in a lot of urban areas we have a lot of land where food could be raised locally, thereby reducing transportation and wasteful packaging. But we like our pretty landscapes and stuff...

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Jin+Guice
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Re: Zero Wasters?

Post by Jin+Guice » Sat Oct 20, 2018 2:03 pm

Cities and urban ares still existed 100 years ago though. Perhaps 100 years is the wrong time frame. I guess some interesting questions would be when did packaging become heavily used? Why did it become so heavily used? When did our economy become oil dependent?

Moving away from a hunter gatherer society and first towards an agricultural society and then towards an urban/ specialized society will produce more waste at each turn. Still compared to what is now considered normal even urban cultures produced very little waste until recently. By todays standards it could even be argued that the average urban household in a city 100 (or maybe 150) years ago was living the zero-waste lifestyle, no?

EdithKeeler
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Re: Zero Wasters?

Post by EdithKeeler » Sat Oct 20, 2018 2:55 pm

Cities and urban ares still existed 100 years ago though. Perhaps 100 years is the wrong time frame. I guess some interesting questions would be when did packaging become heavily used? Why did it become so heavily used? When did our economy become oil dependent?
Sure, cities existed 100 years ago... but we processed our meat and stuff 50 miles away, maybe, not thousands and thousands miles away. I mean, our bananas come from other countries.... Back in the day, we would have rarely eaten bananas. But now we want to eat food out of season, etc. and that involves a lot of transport and packaging. The local dairy was outside of town, not several states away. Meat was butchered relatively locally and wrapped in butcher paper, not in plastic.

Spindletop was discovered in 1900... arguably that was one of the things that started the the dependence on oil in the US, or hastened it along.

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Kriegsspiel
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Re: Zero Wasters?

Post by Kriegsspiel » Sun Oct 21, 2018 7:12 am

I've read that Britain was on the verge of catastrophic deforestation in the middle ages, with anyone taking wood from the Royal Forests subject to execution. Only the transition to coal saved them. Fossil fuels have been mined and used in China for thousands of years. But if you're talking specifically about the American economy, you could probably say since before the Revolution, in terms of deforestation, coal mining, and whale population.

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