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  • FIRST POST
    • MSE Andrea
    • By MSE Andrea 17th Nov 17, 10:16 AM
    • 8,880Posts
    • 21,289Thanks
    MSE Andrea
    Zero waste, plastic-free, MoneySaving Christmas
    • #1
    • 17th Nov 17, 10:16 AM
    Zero waste, plastic-free, MoneySaving Christmas 17th Nov 17 at 10:16 AM

    So, I've finally got round to writing something I've planned to blog on for a while but never quite got to it. I may as well write a thread on it then turn it into an MSE blog when I get a moment...

    I'm obviously a MoneySaver! I'm also very much trying to reduce my family's impact on the environment so trying to be zero waste and reduce our plastic use at source.

    But since I started down the zero waste and plastic free path I've found there's a big clash between these and MoneySaving.

    My principles are especially being tested now Christmas is coming.

    Eg if I hadn't stocked up on a load of cheap wrapping paper in January I'd be wrapping presents in beeswax wraps so it can be re-used!

    I get the odd strange look from cashiers when my tomatoes are rolling about all over the place on the supermarket belt because I didn't want to buy the ones in plastic trays.

    But those individual ones often cost so much more

    When I talk to other "ordinary" folk who don't think like this I feel I'm a bit over the top so I'm hoping there are more likeminded souls on the Green and Ethical board that are trying to do the same, have found the same obstacles and have found some useful solutions... and that can tell me I'm not alone!
    Last edited by MSE Andrea; 17-11-2017 at 10:23 AM.
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Page 3
    • Ben84
    • By Ben84 19th Dec 17, 10:00 PM
    • 2,926 Posts
    • 3,587 Thanks
    Ben84
    UK plan to tackle plastic waste threat

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-42397399


    A four-point plan for tackling plastic waste has been outlined by the Environment Secretary Michael Gove.
    Originally posted by SamsReturn
    This is all a self-made problem. We could have been turning unwanted plastic in to electricity and heat for years, but have focused on trying to turn it in to new consumer goods - despite the generally poor quality of recycled plastic goods and the low cost of new plastic. Household waste management has become this awkward attempt at a planned economy in the middle of capitalism, and it seems to need a lot of shoring up from moment to moment.

    As far as I can see, good money has been poured after bad for years now in pursuit of this recycling ideal, and I find evidence of any environmental benefits realised dubious at best. All these years we've been burning fossil fuels in power stations 24/7, 365 days a year, why not replace some of it with plastic? It is basically a fossil fuel, and we already have it. Coal, a bulky, energy intensive to move about material has been bought and imported to the UK from abroad for years now, and all the while we've been paying to ship plastics, a very comparable material out of the uk. Even more absurd since plastics burn cleaner than coal.

    I believe the day when we burn little or no fossil fuels is coming (well, I hope it is!), and when that comes burning plastics for energy may look a lot less attractive. But that's not our reality today, and hasn't been through all these years of expensive recycling programmes, and shipping out plastic and shipping in fossil fuels all this time has I believe hurt the environment more than just burning them as fuel here would have. I'm not against trying to do better, but I'm also a realist. If the numbers don't add up and keep not adding up, something is wrong.

    Personally, I wish the government would package the disposal costs for consumer items in to their purchase price. A good fraction of my council tax bill goes on waste collection, but I hardly throw anything away and could get by with a bin collection every few months - and I don't even use the recycling bin. Unmetered waste disposal is working about as well as unmetered electric would - everything is overloaded, and nobody has any control over their own bill. The majority keep using more and more and everyone's bills keep going up. I think the majority of people will not stop making huge quantities of waste, and manufacturers will not stop or reduce making products that generate it, until people start to tangibly feel the actual cost of it and have control over how much they're paying.

    For similar reasons, I was very happy when we could finally get a water meter and have some control over the bill. We've reduced water use since it was installed by about 1/4th.
    Last edited by Ben84; 19-12-2017 at 10:25 PM.
    • Martyn1981
    • By Martyn1981 20th Dec 17, 7:44 AM
    • 6,329 Posts
    • 10,458 Thanks
    Martyn1981
    This is all a self-made problem. We could have been turning unwanted plastic in to electricity and heat for years, but have focused on trying to turn it in to new consumer goods - despite the generally poor quality of recycled plastic goods and the low cost of new plastic. Household waste management has become this awkward attempt at a planned economy in the middle of capitalism, and it seems to need a lot of shoring up from moment to moment.
    Originally posted by Ben84
    Sadly, I think you may be right. Whilst re-use and recycle are always better, the problems you describe with plastics are very real, so power from incineration may be the best option.

    I live in Wales, which has done extremely well at recycling, but I wonder how this will work in the future when countries like China start to restrict or ban the importation of recycling material.

    Wales is second best household waste recycler in the world

    China waste clampdown could create UK cardboard recycling chaos, say industry experts
    Mart. Cardiff. 5.58 kWp PV systems (3.58 ESE & 2.0 WNW)

    For general PV advice please see the PV FAQ thread on the Green & Ethical Board.
    • Ben84
    • By Ben84 6th Jan 18, 8:02 PM
    • 2,926 Posts
    • 3,587 Thanks
    Ben84
    Sadly, I think you may be right. Whilst re-use and recycle are always better, the problems you describe with plastics are very real, so power from incineration may be the best option.

    I live in Wales, which has done extremely well at recycling, but I wonder how this will work in the future when countries like China start to restrict or ban the importation of recycling material.

    Wales is second best household waste recycler in the world

    China waste clampdown could create UK cardboard recycling chaos, say industry experts
    Originally posted by Martyn1981
    Paper and cardboard at least has a viable home disposal option for many people - compost it. I put a lot of paper and card in my compost bin and make pretty good compost from it. I've been attempting to revive the very tired, thin topsoil in my garden. We're on a steep hill, which was a farm until the 1920s when it got sold for development. Apparently the soil was wrecked from farming and a lot had washed away, so they turned it in to houses. I believe this story, we have about 6 inches of top soil before you hit solid chalk :/ I don't see how they were growing anything on any great scale in this! Well, years of composted cardboard have been poured in to my garden and it's still awful soil, but the cardboard has been dealt with in a pretty green way I guess
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