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Translator: Maria Boura Reviewer: Peter van de Ven
Raise your hand if you think that we should recycle more.
Well, I don't.
My question was a trick.
My name is Bea Johnson,
I'm the author of Zero Waste Home,
and since 2008 my family of four produces one jar of waste per year.
Now, when people find out that I live a zero waste lifestyle,
they love to tell me that they too recycle everything.
And the city of San Francisco, which has a goal of zero waste for 2020,
tells us that recycling and composting as much as possible
is a way to achieve zero waste.
I don't agree at all.
Recycling is not a solution to our waste problem.
Recycling requires energy to process,
but it also lacks regulations
to coordinate the efforts
of manufacturers, consumers, municipalities,
and recyclers across the globe.
Recycling depends on way too many variables
to make it a dependable solution.
What we put in our recycling bin is out of our control.
What happens to it is uncertain.
My city, for example, recycles, accepts all types of plastics.
But there is only a market for very few of them.
And the few that have the chance of being recycled
are turned into a product that will no longer be recyclable.
When they take a plastic container and turn it into plastic lumber,
that lumber is no longer recyclable.
It will end up in a landfill, or worse, the incinerator,
where the resource will be lost forever.
For my family, zero waste is not about recycling more,
it's actually about recycling less
by preventing waste from coming into our home in the first place.
Recycling for us is a last resort.
As a matter of fact, zero recycling is a goal.
Now, eliminating disposables from your life in today's society
seems absolutely impossible.
But, we did just fine without all these products
not so long ago.
Disposability is a modern concept,
something that was invented by the manufacturers
and their powerful marketers out of financial greed.
Now, they promise us time savings in our life,
so we can be more productive.
But don't the products that they sell rather hinder efficiency?
They need to be bought, discarded.
Bought, discarded.
Bought, discarded.
What a waste of time and money that is!
But how do you stop that endless cycle?
We find that eliminating disposables is actually quite simple.
My family has been able to achieve it in three steps.
Number one:
to simply eliminate single-use from our lives.
There is a reusable alternative
for every single disposable item out there.
Rediscovering them was an epiphany for our family.
We've been able to eliminate
paper towels, plastic wrap, aluminum foil, freezer bags, disposable pens.
And yes, even band-aids, menstrual products, floss, Q-tips.
I would have never thought that I could live without these products.
Do I miss them today?
Not one bit.
Quite the contrary, actually.
I no longer have to go to the store to buy those things;
I no longer have to put them in my car;
I no longer have to carry them 36 steps to my front door;
I no longer have to store them.
And then, I no longer have to sort them.
My kids no longer have to take all these materials down to the curb
to be recycled.
And my husband is quite happy with the financial savings.
They've allowed us some pretty amazing family activities.
Now, the trick in adopting reusables is to keep an open mind to the alternatives,
and give yourself some time to get adjusted to them.
Men are particularly addicted to paper towels.
It will take them some time to get used to using rags instead.
The second step is to buy without packaging.
You can do that by buying secondhand,
because obviously used items do not come in packaging.
But you can also do that by buying your consumables,
like food, in bulk, using your own containers,
like glass jars and cloth bags.
Now you might tell me, "Well, I don't have bulk where I live."
When you adopt a zero waste lifestyle, you acquire a selective vision.
And you realize that bulk is everywhere.
Personally, when I enter a supermarket, I no longer see what's packaged,
I only see what is available to me unpackaged.
But I've created a bulk locator
to help people find bulk locations near them.
It's on my website, zerowastehome.com.
It points to thousands of locations worldwide,
and it lets people that find those locations
share them with the Zero Waste community.
The great news is, bulk is exploding right now.
My book has inspired the opening of countless unpackaged stores
throughout the world.
Like Unverpackt Kiel, which was Germany's first bulk store.
And then Natürlich Unverpackt, in Münster itself.
Now, if you plan on bringing your own jar,
to get it filled with cheese at the regular supermarket
takes a bit of guts.
The trick there is simply not to look the staff in the eyes.
(Laughter)
So you arrive there with your jar,
and you say,
"Hi, may I please have 500 grams of -
well, this brie right here, in here?"
Act as if you've done this your whole life,
I promise, they will not refuse you.
The third step is to simply stop accepting freebies.
Because consuming doesn't just happen through the act of buying,
it also happens through the act of accepting things
that are handed out to us.
And in this society,
well, we're the targets of many of those freebies.
Business cards, for example.
I have found that in 99% of the cases
when someone tried to give me a business card,
I've already had a contact with the person.
If I call a plumber to my home,
and the first thing he does when I open my front door
is to hand me his business card,
there is no point in accepting it.
Obviously, if he is at my front door, well, he has my address.
If he has my address, I've given it to him;
we've already been in contact.
There is no reason
to accept this contact info printed on a little piece of cardboard.
Now, in this society,
saying "no" to things that are handed out to you
might seem odd.
It might even be accepted as rude.
But the trick here is to be armed with a few sentences.
"That's really nice of you, but no, thank you."
My youngest son says, "No, I'm good."
My eldest teenager, he's even more minimal,
he says, "No, thanks."
We have so much to learn from our teenagers.
Accepting is condoning, just as buying is voting.
Every time we make a decision,
we have the power to support a practice that is either sustainable,
or one that is not.
Every time we buy or accept disposables,
well, it's a way for us to perpetuate
not only this unresolved recycling system,
but also all the practices that the materials entail.
Did you know that BPA,
contained and released by some plastics into food,
has been linked to cancers and smaller penises in infants?
Yes, I just said that.
(Laughter)
Now, that means that when you buy that plastic packaging,
you not only condone the depletion of natural resources
and that unresolved recycling system,
but also the use of toxic materials.
Basically, a world filled with small penises.
But you also condone the use of taxpayer money to manage waste,
instead of funding more useful programs,
like schools, libraries,
transportation infrastructure, land conservation.
And on a personal level,
well, every time you spend your money buying something that is disposable,
you use it, then throw it away; it's literally throwing your money away.
Or a portion of that trip you've always wanted to take,
or that retreat you've always wanted to go on.
On the other hand, when you eliminate single-use from your life,
when you buy without packaging, and you stop accepting freebies,
then you vote for a healthier, more sustainable,
unpackaged world for our children.
But better yet,
you'll discover a better you.
You'll free yourself from the fictitious needs
that the marketers have created in our society.
You will no longer spend time and money
buying and disposing of items, but focus on what matters most.
You'll have time to spend with friends, with family, a hobby;
you'll have money to fund your dreams.
Raise your hand if you think
that we should recycle less, and live more.
Thank you.
(Applause)
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零廢物的原則是在乎減少回收!

28 分類 收藏
crystallmk 發佈於 2020 年 9 月 1 日
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