Wednesday, March 30, 2005


The National Consumer Council is proposing a bold new initiative that has the potential to boost recycling and encourage people to adopt a more "environmentally friendly" lifestyle.

If introduced, the recycling lottery would give people the opportunity to win a major cash prize through entering a prize draw using recycled products as the ticket.

Oh, what a great idea! (Not!)

Recycling. Great idea, in principle. Trouble is, it's a secondary principle. The primary principle should be to reduce waste in the first place. Our waste mountain is not caused by waste that could be recycled. In the main, it is caused by too much unrecyclable stuff. Much of that which cannot be recycled is packaging. There has got to be a huge potential for designing and producing recyclable packaging.

Already, I've noticed the packaging for some tomatoes is compostable. That's a start. But, again wrong emphasis. The focus should be on reducing not producing packaging, even if it is recyclable. Like every other manufacturing process package production takes up resources.

The recycling process takes up too much energy - production, collection, processing.

The Donut household has gone a long way to reduce waste. We try to reduce the packaging we buy. We compost. We shred paper for compost. We recycle as much of that which we cannot compost.

There's more to be done.

Supermarkets are prime waste creating suspects. Fruit and vegetable packaging is unnecessary and wasteful. Somewhat paradoxically, organic fruit and veg is worst. I believe it's to distinguish between organic (all packaged) and non-organic (some loose, but increasingly packaged). I wish we could find a decent alternative to the supermarket. Markets - tried them, too expensive and still source non-local goods. Organic delvery services - way too expensive and inflexible (i.e. you seem to get about 5kg of celery every week - yuck!).

Recycling lottery, fine. But I wish the NCC would take up the campaign against packaging.

NB - do you know why we have dustmen in the UK. Because they used to collect "dust" or ash from coal fires. Hence the word ashcan - which I think morphed to trashcan.

Way back then, there was so little wasted. People would compost most waste.

:: Posted by pete @ 13:05