Waste not, want not

It’s an adage we’ve all heard our grandmothers say. Spawned during The Great Depression, it’s as true now as it was then, if not more so, because we’re so further down the hopelessly consumer-driven pathway.

Jeff and I are becoming very conscious of the waste we generate and are doing all that we can to mitigate it. I don’t state this to be self-congratulatory because we still generate far more than we need to or should. But the first step to minimising it is to become aware of just how much (and it’s a LOT!) we throw away, never to think of again. We are, little by little (by stealth most of the time), trying to educate our kids to think about where their food (and other stuff) comes from, where their waste goes and the consequences of their actions, and in so doing, educate ourselves. I’m proud of the fact we diverted from recycling every single bit of cardboard and paper I’d been diligently stockpiling for the past few months to use in the filling of our new vegetable garden beds: our very own landfill. While recycling is good, I think of it kind of like closing the gate after the horse has bolted. It’s better than nothing, but the mantra goes: “reduce, reuse, recycle” – in that order.

I am thrilled with the recent opening of a shop called the Wasteless Pantry here in Mundaring, which is doing us all a great service by providing good quality bulk food while “promoting the zero waste ideals of Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rot (and only in that order)”. I was in there just today with two bags full of Vacola jars and containers from my pantry. My friend Jeannie, who is one of the owners, laughed and said I was a poster child for the store, a moniker I’m only too happy to wear in support of such a fantastic business. While I think they’ve opened at a time when the zeitgeist is shifting in their favour, not everyone “gets it” yet. This was demonstrated by a lady who walked in while I was there. She was baffled at the lack of containers and unimpressed with the paper bags or recycled jars on offer so said she’d just nip off to Coles to “buy some plastic bags” and she’d be back. Kinda missed the point I think.