We’re discussing zero waste in our upcoming podcast this week. If you have anything you would like to share with our discussion please either leave a comment here before Friday 30th July or direct message me at email@example.com
What are the most important factors governing whether we can move toward a zero waste economy?
Do you think individuals can really make a difference to all the waste that is generated?
Are you motivated to reduce landfill waste, or all forms of waste (as zero waste advocates support)?
What do you think of high profile waste campaigners like My Zero Waste who have made massive change in their lives to reduce the amount of waste their family generates?
Any comments or discussion topics or personal quotes for us to read out during the podcast are greatly appreciated! Thanks.
At home I try my best to reduce waste of all kinds. This means buying small quantities of food as and when it is needed to help prevent food waste. Considering I care about waste so much at home, I turn a blind eye to all the ‘hidden waste’ that’s created on my behalf whenever I eat out.
Eating out is one of my favourite past-times. There is a lot I like about it; not having to think of something to make; not having to clear up after; and not having to eat the same old thing. I especially like going to a restaurant for the first time and trying something new. Relative to my income, dining out is a fairly large chunk of it, but it’s worth it.
Perhaps one of the reasons I like eating out is that I can switch off my waste-conscience. I don’t have to think about packaging or the food waste that goes on behind the scenes. I’m a customer – it’s their responsibility. And anyway, I can’t actually see the waste. *
What I mean to say is waste is the secret business of an eating establishment. They don’t want their customers to even think about it. They want to conjure lip-smacking images from their menus (fresh, organic, wild, seasonal, and hand-picked) – quite in opposition to the festering images of the dumpster outback, with bluebottles whizzing round it.
But what if eating establishments were transparent about what happens to their waste and actively strove to ensure it was used as a resource and not landfilled? It could be a selling point, to waste fanatics, at least. Such restaurants could belong to an association or display a kite mark of sorts for their forward-looking waste-reducing efforts.
Chip shops which have their waste vegetable oil collected to be turned into fuel could proudly display the waste kite mark on their window. Cafes and bistros that have their waste food collected (for composting? For anaerobic digestion? For feed at the local farm?) might wish to promote their green ethos to their customers by joining such a scheme.
Belonging to such a scheme could generate positive PR for environmentally conscionable restaurants. But the bottom line comes down to whether it would make sense economically. As restaurants have to pay to have their waste collected, they are unlikely to sign up to any food waste collection scheme which costs them money, or requires a major effort. There is also the issue of whether the food waste is a useful resource to anyone locally (there are only so many chip fat oil fuel producers out there).
Have you any thoughts about the viability of such a scheme? Is a scheme even needed? Am I right in considering the waste-reducing efforts of restaurants a potential selling point? Is there a potential health and safety barrier I haven’t considered?
*I have worked in restaurants and bars and witnessed the shocking amount of waste – I tried to save stuff from the bin! Not a happy environment for a waste fanatic to be in!
The idea of learning to drive hadn’t seriously crossed my mind until a couple of months ago. The cities I have lived in – London, Canterbury, and Amsterdam – have too many cars and unless you enjoy sitting in traffic, driving to your destination is ill-advised. For more than twenty-five years I have pretty much managed to get around by bike, foot, or public transport.
Yet a couple of months ago I noticed how not being able to drive had become a barrier. Whenever I organise reuse workshops the biggest headache is always moving the equipment around. I have to rely on inconvenient and often unreliable lifts and taxis.
Sometimes travel arrangements fall through. I’m still disappointed about what happened at the end of a recycling-themed event I organised. We’d put on workshops in a South London park, for which we’d borrowed lots of equipment that needed to be returned the same day. In the rush to get things packed away at the end of the event the equipment was separated and a hired van collected the borrowed stuff, as arranged. However, my lift had fallen through by then, and I was left with a load of workshop equipment, nowhere to put it, and not enough strength nor people power to carry it. I am sorry to say we wasted it by dumping it in the bin; what hypocrites! It was a last resort.
I look forward to the self-reliance driving will bring. I’ve been having lessons all week, and am surprised by how much I am enjoying learning this new skill that so many people take for granted. I suddenly realise what people see in driving. How fun it feels to get behind the wheel and stall at junctions!
If I have transformed from having no interest in cars nor driving to being an acolyte in the space of a week, it is testament to the great lure of the car. I hope my outlook toward cyclists doesn’t take a hateful and aggressive bent as I abandon the two-wheeled club, and forget what it’s like to feel vulnerable, and maligned on the road.
Considering the car is so conveniently seductive (eco bike-fans, like myself, are not immune) have we an realistic hope of scaling back CO2 emissions caused by car travel? In 2006 there a total of 49,886,549 cars were produced. Take a look at car production statistics updated in real time: scary food for thought.