Zero Waste? What do you think?

1SHARES

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
11/13/2008 12:15 PM   :  122 comments

So, yesterday I hauled all my empty bottles, cans, and newspapers off to the local recycling center. It took me three round trips on my bike and about two hours, so I was feeling quite virtuous and proud of myself. Until I got home and ran across this email in my inbox:

Celebrate Zero Waste Day.

According to these people, my valiant efforts may be part of the problem, not part of the solution....

According to the Zero Waste people, the whole idea of recycling is mainly a gimmick perpetrated by manufacturers of soda, beer, juice, and bottled water to get themselves off the hook for providing socially and environmentally responsible packaging and put the burden for dealing with the problem of waste on us consumers. Instead of cooperating with this plan, they say, we should demand that these manufactures go back to putting their products in returnable/reusable bottles, and boycott products that come in plastic and non-reusable bottles.

Personally, I think this argument makes some good points. Recycling is a huge improvement over dumping all this junk into landfills, and we should all be responsible for cleaning up after ourselves. But recycling doesn’t do much to tackle the problems of excess waste and excessive use of non-biodegradable materials at the source of the problem: the manufacturing process. And there are other, proven ways of handling this problem that could accomplish this goal better, like the old reusable bottles with a refundable deposit that all soda and beer used to come in.

But there are drawbacks, too. Prices for these products would probably go up, and it is more work for consumers to schlepp glass bottles around than plastic bottles. And there’s always the question of how effective or appropriate it is for government to legislate how people should handle “lifestyle” problems like this. Sometimes, getting told what to do just makes you feel like doing the opposite, out of spite. Maybe it’s better to put resources into educating people about how their consumption practices affect the environment, and leave it to them to force manufacturers to change with their personal buying decisions.

Anyway, at the moment, I’m mostly feeling frustrated at how hard it is to “be responsible” in the kind of world we live in these days. I firmly believe that a big part of living a healthy lifestyle is being true to your own values, and my values do include doing what I can to maximize the good and minimize the harm I do to other people and creatures, and to the environment, through my own choices and habits as a consumer.

But sometimes, it feels like the only way to do that is to become almost obsessive about scrutinizing the moral and ecological implications of every personal choice you make–mainly because big manufacturers, advertisers, retailers and the government don’t seem to be thinking about these things much at all. And then you have to put a large amount of your own time into dealing with waste products and other problems that wouldn’t exist if things were done a little differently on the other end of the producer-consumer chain. That doesn’t seem right to me.

Or maybe I'm just feeling sorry for myself today?

How do you feel about and handle these issues? Are you going to celebrate Zero Waste Day?


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Comments

  • 122
    I remember when they used to have reusable bottles for pop when I was a kid. It was actually the cheapest per ounce to buy it that way. - 7/12/2012   1:04:42 PM
  • 121
    I live in Germany, basically the Mecca of Recycling. What we have here is a mix. Plastic and glass bottles with mineral water, soda and beer are deposit items that need to be returned to the grocery store for a refund. They then go back to the manufacturer (I presume) and they are responsible for reusing or recycling them. Regular glass (jars, wine bottles, etc.) is brought to your neighborhood recycling containers. They are usually a short walk away from any house. Cans are an issue unto themselves, as clever German politicians had the idea to put deposits on them as well to prevent young people from littering. So things like Red Bull and Nescafe in cans may be returnable for a few cents or not. You can really only tell by looking at the labels. Other plastic bottles (juice, milk, etc.) are simply thrown in the green dot garbage, which is recycled at no expense to the consumer because manufacturers pay a fee to have their packaging recycled. The rest either goes into the composter or the regular garbage. There are special drop-off points for things like old electronics and appliances. And the garbage collectors will come to pick up things like old mattresses by appointment. So it is all very confusing. Cans have a different deposit than bottles, and bottles have to be returned in their original crates, as there is a deposit on them too. And you can't remove the labels or crush the cans, because the deposit symbol wouldn't be readable. Schlepping water and beer bottles (in their respective plastic crates) to the store isn't too big of a deal. You can choose plastic or glass. The most difficult part is knowing where to put what when you have 4 garbage cans (regular garbage, compost, green dot recycling and paper recycling), a garden composter, a basket with non-refundable glass and a box with sundry electronics and other items, that can't be recycled or thrown away in the regular garbage. Added to this is the fact that modern garbage processing systems are certainly capable of separating all of these items by themselves (they can scan labels, wash out containers, sort according to materials and weight, etc.), and it makes you wonder what you're doing all the work for! But at least we feel like we are doing our part for the environment. I am seriously considering getting a water filter to reduce the number of water bottles we go through each week (a 2-person household, we easily go through 24 0.75 to 2 liter bottles of water and 10 bottles of soda a week, add juice and we probably have close to 40 bottles we're dragging back and forth each week). Something's gotta give! - 5/2/2010   3:31:15 PM
  • DAME_GRISE
    120
    Personally, what I try to do in these situations is as much of both things as possible. I look for products and companies that try to support smarter packaging and waste reduction and recycle what I can from the rest of my purchases. For various reasons, we have to buy a lot of individually packaged items (I have to play the "know thyself" card on portion control and in some things must let the manufacturers do it for me.). But about six months ago we bought easy to clean reusable water bottles and have only purchased 3 plastic single use water bottles (when there was a boil order on the drinking water at my boyfriend's work, and he didn't know beforehand to show up with a full bottle) since then. I don't buy pop or juice in single serving plastic bottles either.

    No, I'm not going to get the manufacturers to change overnight, but if everyone decided to do nothing because they couldn't do everything exactly right, nothing would get done. Every little thing helps. I do like the idea of trying to support companies that work to reduce packaging when there are products already available. - 9/15/2009   1:00:56 PM
  • 119
    has anyone ever seen the look on the check out persons face when you go up with two bell peepers and no bag or an apple or two not in a bag or one tomato?? it's classic they don't know what to do with something that is not confined in a bag why is tha the look is classic and unmistakeable and sometimes i do it just for the look and then wash the piece and eat it out of hand the looks on some faces when you just sit there and munch on a bell pepper is priceless also wowee such entertainment value there the lady mary - 9/13/2009   10:27:03 AM
  • YOWSER
    118
    Coach Dean: This is the material world and we are not going to have an effort-free life owning stuff. Zero waste isn't just about bottles and paper but what do you do with the electronic equipment when it is outdated or damaged beyond repair, what do you do with damaged furniture. It is composting, it is water conservation and it's a lot of work. We don't get out of the thought process that goes into removing our refuse, we need to focus on how we can do our part better.

    It is easy to blame corporations for all this trash but we need to see our part in over-consumption process. Not many people want to have a meaningful dialogue in the process because nobody wants to pay for these programs or work with the corporations. People don't want to pay taxes, don't want to be charged for the necessary services. They want corporations to pay for everything and still get the product at a deep discount instead of fair pay.

    - 9/12/2009   7:10:58 AM
  • 117
    I recycle and try to use as little plastic as possible, but I do remember the days when everything was in glass. Going on a picnic wasn't as easy . I appreciate the convenience but I am trying to do without. - 8/23/2009   11:05:44 AM
  • 116
    i recycle at home, when i'm out and about i throw it in the trash. I have seen articles about the garbage people mixing it all together any way, so i sometimes think we have been duped to act like trained rats. to just "do" what we are told to do. sometimes people carry things to far. people are more important than "things". we need to be responsible citizens but not at the expense of people. - 8/20/2009   9:32:32 AM
  • HOLALOLA
    115
    "But there are drawbacks, too. Prices for these products would probably go up, and it is more work for consumers to schlepp glass bottles around than plastic bottles."

    When people talk about food and packaging being cheap and easy, they forget to take into account the price they pay down the road. Health care costs are going up for everyone. People are sicker, more overweight, and lazier than ever before. There are people living near toxic landfills or factories that dump waste illegally. Even if you can afford your own health care, there are taxes to help out others who can't, so cheap and easy food and packaging, isn't necessarily cheap and easy. And most people could use the exercise it takes to schlepp those bottles around, but they won't.

    I find another use for everything that I can. I use the back of paper, I compost, I filter water, I sell or donate old clothes and furniture. Most of the stuff I recycle is other people's stuff that they were throwing away. - 7/17/2009   2:56:58 PM
  • BEALOVESFLOWERS
    114
    Hi, Bravo to all of you who do your best in recycleing. I hate the way we have started to use plastic for everything, especially food. Glass could be sterilized plastic cannot. I recycle cans, and plastic bottles. My trash service has a program, but they won't pick it it up at my house. I am handicaped , in order to get my recycle stuff up to end of alley where they pick it up I am thankful to have a scooter that I can Ride and a little cart to haul my container for recycleing. I also used to return bottles back in the day for refund. I really didn't mind. I am unhappy about foods in plastic,especially milk, and mayonaise.Shelf life is not good. I put my milk in glass jars as soon as I get it home from the store. Somebody please bring back glass. I will end this with a question ..How often did babies get cancer when glass bottles were used, or cloth diapers, food came in glass jars or bottles? God Bless keep on trying and recycleing. - 6/13/2009   12:50:06 PM
  • 113
    The old maxim "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" is indicative of the order of priorities. First, we must reduce our waste production by using less packaging on products, and driving less. After reduction we move to reuse, like glass containers for sodas, and composting. Finally, all we can not eliminate or reuse should be recycled.

    People tend to forget the importance of reduction and even reuse, because recycling is somewhat easier. - 5/27/2009   12:28:07 PM
  • THALIA_82
    112
    I used to live in a city where recycling and composting was mandatory. They used a 3 bag system, all bags were colour coded and transparent. Green = compost (food waste, used kleenex etc); Blue = recyclables (glass, metal, most plastics, cardboard, paper); Clear/Colourless = neither (grocery bags, soiled food containers etc). I LOVED this system. The clear bag usually sat around for 2 weeks, but the other two bags were usually filled every week for pick up. Every spring the city used to sell discounted bags of the compost material back to citizens, they also used it in the city's flower beds etc. The only problem with that system was that the local recycling plants were unable to keep up with the demand of the city. Unfortunately many of the things I had so carefully sorted ended up in landfill anyways. Sorting and properly recycling (cleaning etc) my garbage became second nature, and I honestly find it more difficult now to just throw everything into 1 bag (there's no recycling where I live). When I move away from here (I'm abroad for university) I plan on going back to the 3 bag system, I'll even start my own compost heap if the city won't do it for me :) - 5/1/2009   8:49:56 AM
  • 111
    There are several things to do besides recycling; using reusable water bottles, buying products in bulk, etc. etc. Recycling is also a great choice. Even if it is perpetuated by the companies, we can still combine those efforts with our own strategies and reduce our waste. As for Zero Waste Day, my family and I already do that several days a month, why participate in what we already do. - 5/1/2009   8:05:54 AM
  • SHEEDYFANS
    110
    Currently, recycling IS the way to go. But, it's a good idea to look at how to minimize packaging. Buy in bulk from a food co-op (like United Natural Foods). Shop as much at farmers markets as possible. Worm compost in your kitchen -- it takes just one bin and actually doesn't stink once you get it started! Eat locally produced foods, and less meat. The biking instead of driving is a great help, too. [I saw a great pin the other day: "Burn calories, not fossil fuels"] - 5/1/2009   7:55:36 AM
  • 109
    I think Zero Waste Day is excellent for calling attention to the limits of recycling. I don't think it would be possible to actually observe it, though. Just by being a living creature, I produce waste products every day :-) & unfortunately they're not being composted.

    Drinking filtered water instead of bottled water, avoiding soda entirely, & minimizing the purchase of drinks in throwaway OR recyclable cups are all things I do. But something I think about a LOT is all the plastic we waste with bath products, shampoos, lotions, etc. I would happily adapt to a more "primitive" system where we could go to a store with our cleaned-up glass containers & have fresh creams & cleansers dispensed into them. For practical reasons there would be less variety, but it would be much more sustainable.

    Your ruminations show clearly that to deal with environmental problems, especially global climate change, we need BOTH changes in individual lifestyle AND the macro/structural (government-mandated) policies that enable our lifestyle changes. Neither is enough alone. - 4/1/2009   4:18:50 PM
  • 108
    I totally believe in recycling. Just think where we would be, if our parents had been able to recycle. Yes, early in the 20th century people didn't waste anything, but somewhere along the line, we all (humans) go lazy. Zero waste is a little extreme and goal to try and reach, but until that time I will continue to recycle any and everything that my city (I am lucky that my city has its own recycling program) will allow me to recycle. - 3/31/2009   1:59:43 PM
  • 107
    I totally get how you feel. I too get frustrated because i try to do what i think is right, but my city doesn't even have a recycle program. when i take stuff to a recycle center, they have so many rules. it makes it difficult for me to want to do it. but I desperately want to do what is responsible for future generations and the earth.
    PS. I didn't realize recycling wasn't that effective. - 3/16/2009   2:39:51 AM
  • 106
    In this day & age of germophobia, reusable containers might make people balk at the idea. I like the idea but i am not so freaked by germs...I think if Companies, like some of the water companies, had dispensing machines where you could refill your own containers might be a way to tackle the future, but this would not work for carbonated beverages. Just a thought...... - 2/2/2009   12:18:38 PM
  • NO-41_RAZZYS_PL
    105
    Dean, maybe it's because big manufacturers, advertisers, retailers and the government have the little people scurrying around like busy little ants, that they don’t have to think about these things much- except to constantly REMIND us to!! Sooo... if they're NOT thinking about it, then just how important is it- really? Is it all a 'hype' to KEEP us thinking on one thing... while they're 'up to' another?!! LOL!! If I disappear from SP you'll KNOW I was right!! LOL!! Anyway... I 'do' my 'part' to clean up their trash... even hopped into the historic James River (Natural Bridge of VA) WAY back in the day- YEARS ago (probably'd get arrested today, LOL!!) to clean out the TRASH (tourists were throwing in the river) in my 'I LOVE NATURE' way!
    Regardless of any government conspiracies, I think what you did was a good thing- but a BRILLIANT thing- that would be for all of us little nobodies to find out EXACTLY what those 'big boys on the block' are up to! LOL!! (haha, I laugh in the face of danger...) - 2/1/2009   3:59:33 PM
  • CLOVER6266
    104
    We make choices on a daily basis regarding the packaging on the products that we use. We purchase items that can be reused, buy products that have less packaging whenever possible, recycle what cannot be reused and donate as much as possible rather than throwing out items that we no longer need or use. - 2/1/2009   1:04:48 PM
  • 103
    Stick with what is affordable and doable according to your schedule. There is no point in being environmentally responsible if you cannot maintain the practice. Zero waste is a bit much and the next thing they will suggest is that you never ever buy packaged products. - 1/31/2009   5:59:18 PM
  • 102
    We recycle everything curbside. The upside is that the actual garbage we send to the landfill is low. The downside is that we end up with 3 or 4 huge bins for recycling every 2 weeks. In 2009, my goal has been to whittle down our recycling (not by throwing everything in the trash) but by buying less packaged stuff. I try to cook from scratch as much as possible. An inspiring book to read is Barbara Kingslover's "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle". I'd be surprised if that family has anything left to recycle or throw away! - 1/31/2009   9:03:12 AM
  • 101
    I find now that I recycle most of my rubbish I am choosing things with less packaging. For instance I always buy vegetables loose and nails and screws loose. I detest any bit of electronic stuff which comes with layers of packaging. Gradually, and especially now that people are looking to save money, I think instinctively they will go for less packaging. The success of getting people to use their own shopping bags rather than endlessly get new plastic bags from supermarkets points to the desire for an improvement.
    I disagree with Pada1... because this does not have anything to do with global warming. It has to do with the use of land and the damage done to wildlife by so many of our wast products. We need wildlife to maintain the balance and in the end to nourish us. If sea birds are getting liver damage from minute bits of plastic which we really do not need and have managed for years without, then we should be ashamed and concerned.
    Given that manufacturers are so slow to respond, it is up to us to recycle. For example I use those juice cartons cut in half as pots to grow plants in; also as freezer containers. I get irritated that the makers use both plastic and waxed paper to make them so they are more expensive to recycle. Why not go back to the cut off corner rather than the plastic spout?
    Clothes if not suitable for the charity shop or jumble sale, and old towels get used as cleaning cloths and I am interested that so many of the younger generation are now wanting to learn how to sew.
    Styrofoam which comes with appliances is very useful in the bottom of large container pots as drainage and the large flat sheets I use to protect plants from frost. But I am lucky in that I have a garden and it is a problem in towns. But I think everyone can do something to reduce the amount in landfill even if it is only something small.

    . - 12/23/2008   7:46:59 AM
  • LULU92
    100
    My city does not provide curbside to my neighborhood so we do save and take our recyclables to the recycling center every few weeks. However, with my aluminum cans, I leave them out in a bag for some who recycle them for money. It's not worth it for me, but I'm glad someone else can use it. Having to schlep the stuff ourselves does make you stop to think about the packaging you purchase. I take all my household items like unwanted clothing or kitchen items to Goodwill. I figure someone can make use of it, and the money benefits others in need. - 12/3/2008   1:58:42 PM
  • DJCBECK
    99
    recycle is the best we can do until things change, I agree some people don't care, don't like to be told, act rebellious Why? sometimes helping is best than hurting our enviroment. We recycle everything.. makes less trash. I use scraps for compost great for gardening. We have to do what is best some people just like to do whatever. If the "whatever's" did something what a better world it would be!
    Peace, Darlene - 11/27/2008   7:16:27 AM
  • 98
    The best way to make any changes I fell is by buying what make you think is the best for the evoriment at your price range. - 11/22/2008   9:39:13 AM
  • REDHOTDIVA
    97
    Thanks for posting this! The battle between the "recycle more" camp and the "use less"-ers is one I deal with constantly. Personally, I try to use less, and recycle what I can (and think about whether a container is recyclable before I buy a product) but I still feel like too much of a consumer sometimes. I wish our society wasn't so germ-phobic (too much packaging) and disposable item based, but I don't see that changing anytime soon. - 11/20/2008   5:08:52 PM
  • 96
    I really do try to recycle, but I know I'm not doing all I can. And I know there are people around me that do worse. Frankly, I don't think that America will "get on board" as much as other countries unless (1) Americans in general can get something out of it, even if it's something small like getting cash for the bottles and cans they recycle (2) corporations do take it upon themselves to be more ecologically responsible, which they won't do because CEO's still want their million dollar homes and six figure incomes while the little people doing all the work lose their pensions and (3) the government basically forces everyone to recycle, which I am not against, because maybe if people are MADE to do it, they will, if only begrudgingly, to save the earth. - 11/17/2008   10:18:05 AM
  • 95
    I have to admitt that I've often thought along the same lines. Especially since I grew up with all the glass containers & returnables. With the glass containers, yes they had to be shipped & handled more carefully at all points but if left in the environment the worst that happened was someone got a cut if it were broken. Or at least that was my perseption. And if found, your could haul it in to the nearest grocery store for some quick cash. All around win in my opinion. - 11/17/2008   12:11:08 AM
  • CHICKEN-GAL
    94
    Here in Oregon they've had bottle recycling since 1971. It may have been the first state to do so. The Portland area is big on recycling, Here in the town of Boring, we have huge recycling bins that the garbage company supplies. As a family we only get trash collection & the recycling bin once a month. I keep a compost bin or give kitchen scraps the chickens. - 11/16/2008   9:34:52 PM
  • 93
    My town doesn't have recycling, so I take it to the next town over (shh...don't tell!). I also carry my own water bottles to avoid that bit of plastic and have lately been taking my lunch to work/school in reusable containers instead of buying the packaged stuff. My school, however, counteracts anything I've ever done to reduce waste...they use styrofoam plates, bowls, and trays, paperboard dishes, plastic cups, spoons, and forks (heaven forbid we give the children knives), plus they put a container into the tray's built-in compartment instead of just filling the compartment! Horrid...but I have no idea how to get that to change. I won't even start on the brown-ness of every single item they serve, or the fact that the veggie of the day is either fries, or is only served when requested, and not to every child automatically. Sadness. - 11/16/2008   5:08:52 PM
  • 92
    I live in Germany at the moment and they are very big on recycling. Beer and other drinks still come in glass bottles (which you pay a small fee for at first purchase but when you return them you get your money back either to use on the next batch of glass or as a refund). They also have glass recycle bins (3 different ones for brown, green and clear glass) in each town.

    We are given recycling bags (yellow bags) that we put cans, plastics, etc in. This works very well in my opinion.

    Another thing we have is a bin for yard waste and food waste. It is large enough that we can use it for a year before emptying it. We are a family of 6, use one trash can that is collected once a month. - 11/16/2008   4:18:26 PM
  • 91
    We recycle everything that is possible to recycle, the result is that I have only one trash bag a week. Working on getting that down too. I have changed all my lightbulbs, use only biodegradable products, drive slower, and have my own shopping bags which I take everywhere with me ( I have 4 in my purse alone and about 20 in my trunk) I would love to bike to work but it is way too far, and puiblic transport is not an option as the price is astonomical (stupid right, it should be the other way around!!)

    I am waiting and praying that our government will wake up and take messures to protect our country and this planet. In the meantime I do work in the public and I can say that that an aweful lot of people do not really care!! - 11/16/2008   1:57:15 PM
  • JAZZERCISEGENIE
    90
    Wee recycle as much as we can. Just y husband and I. When the grandkids come they pitch everything as we have to stop them and tell them we save alumium cans and plastic. - 11/16/2008   1:39:06 PM
  • 89
    I live in a small town, and there is NO recycling center ANYWHERE near us. I wish I could recycle my pastics, cardboard, etc... but I would have to have somewhere to save it all up, and then drive 45 minutes to a recycling center... and then 45 minutes back... - 11/16/2008   12:05:43 PM
  • 88
    We are a family of 7 and I have found that we've gone from needing 2 HUGE trashcans (the kind that are for the automatic trash trucks), to basically using half of one a week. BUT I should fill 2 recycle (same size) a week. Recycle only picks up here once a month. Thankfully we do have a recycle center about a mile up the street so it's not horribly inconvenient, but still...I wonder what we can do to get recycle pick up more often? - 11/16/2008   11:00:16 AM
  • GRANDMAJO37
    87
    I agree about all the plastic, but I can't find a metal container that I like to carry water, so I have several plastic water bottles that I reuse with my filtered water.

    I do prefer the plastic containers over the glass because of breakage, but I do recycle or reuse all of them.

    Something else that isn't mentioned here is paper. I have put myself on the do not mail list and stopped all catalogs coming to me. I recycle all the junk mail that still comes and if the back side is blank, I use it in my computer to print things I want to print out or write notes on the back. I live alone and don't fill a 10 gal trash can every two weeks. I recycle everything I can. A lot of things there is no place to recycle here. - 11/16/2008   9:45:02 AM
  • 86
    I know lots of people won't agree with me, but personally I'm glad to have some things available in plastic bottles. Have you ever had a young child pick up the jar of mayo (reduced calorie, of course) and drop it on the floor? The plastic jar generally survives. Guess what happens to the glass one. Same for catsup, peanut butter, mustard, etc. I'm all for having these be recycleable plastics and for communities to have recycling, but I want to keep the plastic containers, thank you very much! Bottled water is another story altogether. It's great for disaster relief, but not for every-day use. Get a water filter! They even make travel bottles with one as part of the bottle. That technology could stand a little improvement, but it's there. - 11/16/2008   8:35:30 AM
  • MYGEORGE
    85
    I also recycle as much as I can. I think any thing, no matter how big or small, helps. - 11/16/2008   7:18:32 AM
  • 84
    I recycle as much as I can. My friends tease me b/c I wash plastic from various packaging. There is soooo much plastic it's crazy. I wonder though, how life would be if we took a step back to the days without all the packaging & how we would cope now. Glass bottling is 1 viable way - 11/16/2008   3:51:05 AM
  • ISLANDGAL808
    83
    Our state started a recycling program in 2 neighborhood communities to see how it goes with the people and the cost effectiveness. At first there was some resistance but it seems to be catching on. They're thinking of adding another neighborhood so that's good. - 11/15/2008   4:14:32 PM
  • 82
    I know how you feel I try very hard to recycle everything but I am lucky they pick it right up at my door. So I sort the plastics from the papers etc. etc. I put in every little piece of plastic. Sandwich bags, wrappers, bottles anything plastic. I have friends who do not recycle anything. The people I talk to there husbands still don't do it faithfully. I go through the garbage and take out the recycling when possible. Anyway for awhile I was bringing my daughters recycling home with me she doesn't have good pick up service and we were sorting everything and putting it in clear plastic recycling bags most cities take. I found out ours doesn't and found out they were probably just throwing it in the garbage. I was furious I called the city and complained they said it would take too much time. I said it would take less time because I had everything sorted for them. If they didn't take the bags all they had to do was rip it open and dump the stuff which would take less time than sorting my blue box. I just went and got more blue boxes in our city they are still free and just put more of them out each week. - 11/15/2008   11:03:52 AM
  • 81
    Well, I already fail at making today a zero waste day (my breakfast came in a disposable package, which I opened before I read this...), but I am going to try to make the rest of my day a Zero Waste Day. That article truly is an eye-opener. - 11/15/2008   10:26:52 AM
  • PHYLLISPETERS
    80
    Lizabaker, comment #78 has hit the nail on the head. - 11/15/2008   9:40:17 AM
  • BEHMOM
    79
    Making everyone more environmentally conscious is the responsibility of governments and communities.
    Every small step we can take is a help, and starting with educating children will lead to improvements for their future. And in turn, the children will teach their parents how to reduce, reuse and recycle. - 11/15/2008   9:09:54 AM
  • 78
    "But there are drawbacks, too. Prices for these products would probably go up, and it is more work for consumers to schlepp glass bottles around than plastic bottles." This sentence makes me crazy and defines in part why we are in the mess we are in environmentally speaking: I am not sure how or when, but Americans seem to have developed the attitude that things should be 1) cheap and 2) easy, particularly where food is concerned. Do you buy the cheapest car, or do you buy the one you really want/believe is the best value/gets the best mileage? Do you buy the cheapest clothes, or do you buy the ones that will last/are produced responsibly/carry a certain label? Do you buy the cheapest tv, or do you buy the biggest/newest model you can afford? I'll bet the answers to those are NOT "the cheapest". So why not be willing to pay for the best food - best for your health, best for the environment? Wake up, America - cheap and easy is what got us into the environmental and public health crises we're in.... - 11/15/2008   8:56:46 AM
  • 77
    Our local govt. says no plastic recycling at this time, glass and aluminum is accepted for general recycling.

    I don't purchase beverages, I drink water and make tea or coffee.

    As far as packaging, plastic seems to be unavoidable, but lately I have purchased small appliances packed in molded cardboard that goes right in my paper recycle bin. I think this is great. - 11/15/2008   8:50:38 AM
  • 76
    I do the best I can as far as recycling goes. I have to take my bin down the road because we don't have curb side pick-up. I have heard, however, the most economical and least toxic things to recycle are metals and glass. These are probably the smallest proportion of items that I recycle. Very few things are made in glass anymore.

    Last summer, my daughter went to a summer camp where she had to pack a lunch every day and they strongly encouraged a no waste lunch box. They wouldn't even allow the kids to bring a paper sack lunch. It made me think hard about how I pack her lunches during the school year. I try to put things in reusable containers now. - 11/15/2008   8:27:16 AM
  • 75
    When I went on vacation to GERMANY, I was impressed with all the recycling they had there. Even at the roadside rest stops, there were bends to recycle. - 11/15/2008   3:28:41 AM
  • 74
    I still think recycling is good. I do wish that more glass was used & plastic bottles , jars were done away with. We have a small vege shop & all of our customers bring in their plastic bags from the superemarkets and we reuse the clean ones with another customers veges that they purchase. i make lots of sauces etc and where possible I use recycled, steralised bottles with new caps or lids for these. i sure wish that plastic was either banned or cost more and that glass, & that glass had a refund on it. That would sure help our planet. We need to be more aware in our carbon foorprints. - 11/15/2008   2:43:52 AM
  • 73
    We have had a "return for refund" policy for quite some time where I live. Soda pop and beer containers (either cans, plastic or glass bottles) are "refundable". Cans and plastic bottles are worth 5 centseach, and glass bottles are 40 cents (I think). We pay the deposit when we purchase the items, and then the onus is on us to collect the containers and return them to the store to get the deposit back. All the grocery stores have recycling machines for the cans and plastic bottles... put the item in, and when you're done loading it... press the button, it gives you a receipt, which you bring to the cashier for your refund.

    For the longest time, I didn't bother returning the cans or bottles, and then I realized... somebody was making a profit off of me every time I put a can or bottle into the recycle bin at home... so I now collect the items, and when I have a few garbage bags full, I either bring them back to the store for my refund, or I donate them when there are bottle drives for fundraising. - 11/15/2008   2:39:04 AM

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