Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Glorious Waste

Last night I lay awake. Even after 2 children who won't sleep through the night, this is a very rare occurrence. My head full of worries, worries for my children's future and if they'll have to bear the brunt of our and the past generations' mistakes.

Meanwhile the world just parties on as if nothing was at odds.

I don't think I've felt as alienated as I did last night ever before. The feeling that people, when sharing my worries, will label me as a nutcase, dismiss my concerns. Of course it didn't come out of the blue, even if it felt like it. I had a conversation by Skype with a very open dismissiveness about my resolve to avoid air travel at all costs. It must have stuck. And let the images of my girls having to deal with a world going to pieces keep me awake.

I know that my personal choice to avoid air travel is a drop in the ocean as long as businesses require their employees to travel. It's a drop as long as air travel doesn't carry its actual cost. It's the only thing I can do though.

Ever since I read this feature, my positive outlook as been tweaked to one of impatience at this world that won't change its way. The way we saw off the branch we are sitting on, like a slapstick joke courtesy of Laurel and Hardie (and they always come out alright at the end, don't they?).

Last night I had visions of the end of the world. I had them before, but this time they seem around the corner. There is a sense of urgency and not knowing how to deal with a wider world that is ignoring the signs and refusing to act on them. So the ice sheets keep melting, the rain keeps pouring, migrations and food shortages, and yes, the end of the world as we know it may descend upon my beautiful and innocent girls who had nothing to do with this situation we're in. The world is out of sync and we all pretend we'll come up with a solution in time.

Enters National Zero Waste Week and a bunch of inspirational folk. Just what the doctor ordered in times of doom and gloom.
I remember three years ago when I first heard of Zero Waste how I thought, surely that's a euphemism for something. Ahem, no it isn't. There are families out there who manage to produce just 100g of rubbish a week.

I don't pretend I'm one of them - far from it. But it has made me think that maybe, just maybe, half a bin of rubbish per fortnight isn't needed (and I know that's little compared to others, considering we're a family of 4). It has also made me think about the bigger picture. While consumer action is nice, political action is better. What use is it that I compost my banana skins when the compostable bin at Hampden Park is filled with plastic cups? Wouldn't it be easier if there were no plastic cups? How about the big supermarkets offering package free food and launching an advertising campaign to bring your own tub?

20 years ago I was introduced to the problem. The problem is bigger now than it was there. With all my efforts to live more sustainably, even I use up far too many resources of this planet. If everyone lived like me, we'd need 3 planets, and it's no consolation whatsoever that the UK average is something like 4.2. It's not good enough.

I may not have the answers or my answers may be wrong, yet considering that all anyone can do is change their own behaviour, this is my own plan of action for Zero Waste Week - one more thing:

1. revamp my food storage system so that bulk buying and package free buying becomes easier
2. buy at the only shop where you can fill your own tubs (Whole Foods Glasgow) or at market
3. take on to recycle all that can be recycled at work

You can be part of Zero Waste Week too. You don't have to go totally zero waste - it takes years to get there but the beauty is that once you start with one little thing, it leads to a chain reaction and before you know it, you'll have halved your waste and buy with more awareness. It's easy to start with taking your own bags or trying to avoid packaging whenever possible. You may even ditch that shampoo and shower gel (but worry not, you don't have to if that's just one step to far!) Zero Waste Week is for everyone. So why not sign up and do one more thing, just a little one, and together it will make a difference and go from drop in the ocean to a tidal wave. You'll make my day too!

WEB – Leave a comment on the My Zero Waste website pledge page

FACEBOOK – Join the zero waste facebook page and check out the events page where almot 300 people are already signed up and sharing their advice!

TWITTER – Use the twitter hashtags #onemorething and #nzww and follow My Zero Waste.
f you run your own website, feel free to grab the code to proudly display your own banner in support of the week.


sustainablemum said...

This is a great idea. We are near zero waste but not quite there. We put out a bag of rubbish on average once every five weeks. Your starting ideas are great, if you reduce the packaging in your food shopping I am sure you will be surprised at the reduction in your rubbish.

Tallulah@Bilingual Babes said...

This is a great initiative. We now recycle half of our rubbish, but your post has encouraged me to do more.



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