I am suffering with information overload, and not at all sure that it's helping me save the planet.
However I did read a very thought provoking blog post yesterday here. Jen, at "My Make Do and Mend Life" argues that recycling comes way down the list after refusing, reusing, reducing, refilling and repairing. It seems a great idea to recycle your old plastic bottles into a new fleece - until you realise that each time you wash that fleece, you are releasing more plastic micro particles into the oceans.
How much of the paper which went into my recycle bin yesterday was paper I didn't really want anyway, but yet it still found its way into my home?
Jen says, and I agree, that we should stop acquiring the stuff in the first place. It's all about changing our mindset about these things. I have been taking note of the things we did as a family which are working towards ZW
- On Friday, Liz and I bought veg on the market, and it went straight into our cotton shoppers, not into plastic carriers.
- On Saturday, I repaired some jeans and a top for the girls.
- On Sunday we had some leftover green veg - Liz pureed these to make food for Rosie. [If she hadn't, I'd have frozen them to go into a soup]
- Monday morning at 6.30am, I took Steph to catch her train to work in Surrey. She had her coffee in the insulated travel mug to drink en route to the station whilst I drove, then I brought it home.
- Monday night we had left over potato - Liz made a batch of potato cakes [adding flour and egg, but NO salt] Rosie had one for Tuesday breakfast, and we ate the rest at lunchtime with some other leftover meat [adding our own condiments]
- Liz borrowed the travel mug on Tuesday afternoon. Bob filled it with coffee for her so she could have a cuppa on the train. Cheaper than buying one from the trolley, and no need for a disposable cup. I'll collect it next week, when I stay over with them for my WWDP meeting.
- Bob spent time Tuesday evening turning some leftover wood into a top for the old BBQ stand.
I don't think we are particularly noble, and we're nowhere near as efficient at this as many of the other bloggers I read. Hugh F-W has pointed out that most of the 'recyclable coffee cups' still end up in landfill. I suspect that many items bearing the recycling arrows logo do likewise.
It is hard to change habits. I want to learn to start at the place where I question the merit of obtaining that item at all. We need to stop using "it's OK, I can recycle it afterwards" as our default position. Instead I need to ask myself "is this the best solution to the problem -not just now, but in the long term?" I have a responsibility to be a good steward of the earth - that hasn't changed since Genesis Chapter 1 - not just for myself, but for subsequent generations yet to come.