January 19th, 2021

Conscious Disposal

When we went vegan last February it was partly because of  the way that animals/birds/fish for food are treated. Tony asked me this morning whether we canbuy fat balls made with vegetable suet or fat.  I couldn't find any, so I've ordered 2 litres of coconut oil and will start to make my own.  Not because I want to feed them vegan food - I'll happily add bugs to them - but to not support animal ag, the main cause of zoonotic illnesses that lead to pandemics.

Part of my reason for going vegan was simply to help the planet and all things that depend on it.  This has led me into sustainability, eco-consumerism and zero waste.  I've bought a couple of films - Plastic Paradise - The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, by Angela Sun and The Need to Grow by Rob Herring and Ryan Wirick about how we need to be adding life to soil before it stops growing things completely.  

I don't find it that hard to be a conscious consumer - that's fairly simple - it involves not buying more than you need, cutting the impulse buys, buying second hand where possible and knowing which brands are really sustainable - they'll usually proudly let you know on their website; and which ones are greenwashing - not looking at the beginning of the route of their goods - whether the raw material is responsibly sourced and workers given fair wages, no slavery, child workers etc. etc. - and only start with themselves - once the goods get to them then they're responsibly packaged and shipped, fair wages etc.  There are people who will buy/sell a pile of, say, tee shirts, no questions asked and then deal with them in an eco and sustainable way, and label them as sustainable.

Being a conscious recycler is much, much more difficult.  A lot of clothes that are sent to thrift/charity shops end up in landfill.  Some department stores just throw returns in the bin for landfill - often after spoiling them so that no-one can dumpster dive for them.  The best thing to do with anything for recycling is to try to pass it on to someone who will use it — your rarely used item can be someone else's treasure.  In the UK we have Freecycle - and of course several of the social media sites have market places where you can sell or give things away - sometimes you could even make a little money.  We've started checking whether books, cds and dvds are saleable or of use to anyone before we take them to the charity shop.

Rubbish is another thing.  We moved from tea-bags to leaf tea because tea-bags weren't compostable as they have plastic in, but one or two makes are now home compostable.  We've also discovered where we were going wrong with our composting - we need brown and green, green for nitrogen and brown for oxygen.  This breaks down to food, garden cuttings and cardboard.  The greasy part of a pizza box can't be sent for recycling - but it is compostable, along with greasy kitchen towels, brown paper bags and toilet roll centres.