My view on "Green"

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Clazbear
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My view on "Green"

Post: #133503 Clazbear
Fri Dec 05, 2008 4:13 pm

Ok I'm a newbie to this forum, but I have been avidly reading posts (and articles on the main site) and want to share my thoughts on our current environmental situation.

At this point I just want to talk about household waste and recycling/reusing.
I think that the supermarkets and convenient living are going to have to take alot of the blame. the rest goes to thoses who don't recycle/reuse.

Why? Well........

When I was a born it was terry nappies, no disposable waste. I choose cloth nappies, but most people don't.

As a kid my parents had milk delivered by the milkman, he would collect the empty glass bottles for reuse. He drove around in an electric float producing no emissions. The only waste my mum had at the end of a week was a few foil tops. I am now the parent and at the end of my week my waste is several big plastic bottles, because we don't have a milk delivery service in the area and I have to buy milk this way in the shop. I choose to recycle my milk bottles, My parents didn't have too!

My mums meat was bought at the local family butcher, her waste, a few small plastic bags. Me, I have to buy my meat from the supermarket, because our family butcher closed down 5 years ago and there's no more in the area. I have several bulky plastic trays with film lids.

Mum had a fruit and veg shop to get her greens from, wrapped in brown paper bags which she reused until they ripped, then my dad composted them, no waste!. Me, even my fruit shop has closed and the nearest one uses non recyclable plastic bags. So I get my greens from the supermarket where they at least have recyleable plastic bags.

Toilet roll used to be wrapped in paper that was either recyclable or compostable, my dad composted. now it's all plastic and I have to recycle.

As a family we produce 2-3 times more waste than my parents did 25 years ago, Yet we are a family of four just as they were and we consume the same amount of food as they did. I choose to recycle my plastics, but if milk still came in glass bottles delivered on electric floats how much less waste would there be in this counrty. Just that one little thing :scratch:

"Progress" is not always good. If consumers still shopped like my parents did then I think we would be in a better situation.

just a thought.

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Re: My view on "Green"

Post: #133518 Green Aura
Fri Dec 05, 2008 7:01 pm

My memories are similar to yours, except the butcher wrapped our stuff in paper.

In Gtr manchester I had a milkman until only a few years ago. The problem was he came too late in the morning so we had milk sitting outside all day as we were both working. In the summer the milk was on the turn by next morning and we often didn't get a drink before going out. We tried all sorts of things including those insulated thingys - they stopped it freezing in the winter but seemed to make no difference in the summer. So, after many wasted pints we had to stop. We consoled ourselves with the notion that even though we were having to buy plastic jugs, at least they were helping to keep the freezer fairly full.

It didn't help much that a few months later we heard he'd lost the milkround and it wasn't replaced by anyone else. I'm guessing his round was too big to be able to deliver first thing - like when I was little - and that other customers had similar problems (and solution).
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Re: My view on "Green"

Post: #133523 Clara
Fri Dec 05, 2008 8:04 pm

I can't disagree with anything you've said, but there is a positive side....

now we are aware that we can choose fairtrade and organic materials for those cloth nappies, that we can choose to use cloth instead of loo roll and/or sanpro too (or at the very least use recycled loo roll), that there are food issues regarding the importance of animal welfare/organics/locality and that the emphasis should be on reducing consumption rather than recycling.....these things just weren't on the agenda when I was growing up, sure I was cloth nappied, but in bleached conventionally grown cotton terries, the loo roll was made of and came wrapped in paper from unmanaged forests bleached with dioxins, the only thing that mattered much about food was how cheap it was and that it was generally better to have more of anything if you could get it, and recycling - what was that?

Swings and roundabouts.................
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Re: My view on "Green"

Post: #133524 Rosendula
Fri Dec 05, 2008 8:13 pm

Things were a lot more environmentally friendly back then, weren't they? I do think it is up to us to turn the clocks back as much as we can, and teach our children this better way of doing things. There are many challenges for us to overcome, though. Perhaps the pot-in-pot fridge might be a way to overcome the difficulties of the milk going off while people are at work - a bit too late for those who no longer have milk deliveries in their area though. :? . I particularly hate putting my fruit in a plastic bag, and will get them all loose if I can and put them straight in my shopping bag (after paying :lol: ).

Unfortunately, my parents :bootyshake: :bootyshake: , who don't usually move with the times, did on these matters. In fact they've never given a stuff about any of it. For example, when we were little and eating sweets in the back of the car, my mother :bootyshake: would tell us to throw the wrappers out of the window. When talking about Fair Trade, my father :bootyshake: told me he doesn't go in for it, that "all these little kids making rugs and that, I couldn't care less. So long as I'm getting something cheap". Erm, yes he did mean it. The time my eldest daughter told my mother :bootyshake: that she was boycotting Nestle, and my mother :bootyshake: replied, "Oh, I don't know why you're bothering, Chris. Nothing ever changes. I wouldn't bother if I were you". Then there was the time......Oh, I think I've drifted off the topic. :oops: Sorry about that, but you will get me talking about my parents :bootyshake: :bootyshake: won't you.

Do you remember taking lemonade bottles back to the shop and getting the deposit back? That was great. And when Road Sweepers went around with a tin dustbin on wheels and a sweeping brush and actually swept the roads and paths, not like these big machines that just sweep it away from the edges to the middle bit so we all walk on it and then tramp it into our houses. Oh I could go on (don't encourage me). It's one of those conversations we often have in our house. We've had the same one between us (OH and me) at least half a dozen times, and we've both had the same conversation at the kids several times. :lol:
Rosey xx

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Re: My view on "Green"

Post: #133525 Clara
Fri Dec 05, 2008 8:26 pm

Rosendula wrote: I particularly hate putting my fruit in a plastic bag, and will get them all loose if I can and put them straight in my shopping bag (after paying :lol: ).


Have you thought about reusable produce bags? Along the same lines as your cloth shopping bag, but you can make them from finer material.
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Re: My view on "Green"

Post: #133527 Rosendula
Fri Dec 05, 2008 8:31 pm

Clara wrote:
Rosendula wrote: I particularly hate putting my fruit in a plastic bag, and will get them all loose if I can and put them straight in my shopping bag (after paying :lol: ).


Have you thought about reusable produce bags? Along the same lines as your cloth shopping bag, but you can make them from finer material.


I've thought about it, but I'm too stingy to buy them, and too clumsy to make them. :roll: My local green grocer is happy to let me take them away loose.
Rosey xx

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Re: My view on "Green"

Post: #133531 pumpy
Fri Dec 05, 2008 8:41 pm

Hi,claz & aura, youv'e certainly stirred memories by talking about milk deliveries. As a child on school-holiday,(circa,1961), i remember being allowed out for the day, with our local milkie, on what was one of the last horse-drawn floats in S.E. London. Sitting, way-up in the sky, behind this heavy-horse was awe-inspiring (even at that early age). Unfortunately,that is all now from a bygone age. But, now we live in a disposable society, where( here in Norfolk, at least,) we throw away ,not only,vast amounts of food packeging, but (believe it,or not) about 30% of all food purchased. That'll be progress,then.
it's either one or the other, or neither of the two.

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Re: My view on "Green"

Post: #133566 Sally Jane
Sat Dec 06, 2008 10:43 am

Regarding fruit and veg bags, I know I've seen some fine, reusable mesh bags on one of the eco-store websites, maybe Ethical Superstore or Nigel's Ecostore, but I haven't tried them myself yet, although I will try to track them down now you've reminded me of the need to!
They are very lightweight and washable, and are transparent enough for the greengrocer/supermarket checkout assistant to see what is inside.
Hope this helps - if I can track them down again, I'll post where I saw them.

Remembered at last! They are called Weigh and Store bags and are sold by Lakeland Ltd - a pack of 6 costs a bit under £3, and while they are not perfect (ie their production will have had an ecological impact) they are an improvemnt on the plastic bags we're obliged to put our produce in for weighing, whether it's at the local greengrocers or the supermarket.
Last edited by Sally Jane on Mon Dec 08, 2008 8:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Clazbear
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Re: My view on "Green"

Post: #133627 Clazbear
Sun Dec 07, 2008 2:50 am

I was lucky as a kid. Although my folks weren't self sufficient, they did have a deep respect for nature (and for their wallets). I don't know where this respect for nature came from, they grew up in the industrial sub-burbs of a large city, in a time when the phrases recycle and eco-friendly didn't exist. they had no Eco-backgrounds at all. However, they moved away from that to better themselves and to give their kids a better life. They educated us and influenced us to have the same respect for nature. (kind of opposite to your folks by the sound of it Rosendula)

Ok, so the products my parents used weren't exactly Eco-happy as Clara and others pointed out....
these things just weren't on the agenda when I was growing up, sure I was cloth nappied, but in bleached conventionally grown cotton terries, the loo roll was made of and came wrapped in paper from unmanaged forests bleached with dioxins

.....a down side to be sure. Organics, sustainables, etc, just weren’t around, that’s a fair enough comment, and at least we now have those Eco-products available…..but at least my parents weren't throwing disposable nappies in some landfill where they weren’t rotting away. Far more cheap disposables nappies are used today than expensive reusable ones.

The milk. Delivered fresh every morning, the empty bottles were collected from their door, on an electric, harmful emissions free vehicle, and re-used, fresh milk put in their place. Today you have to take your plastic empties yourself to a recycle centre. There are many people out there that find this inconvenient and so the bottles go in the normal rubbish, taking up a huge amount of space in the bin, and end up in landfill. Or you do recycle, but like me you live that far away from a centre you need a carbon spewing vehicle to get there. (We have given up our carbon spewer to save money and reduce our footprints. I car share with my dad and he takes me to the supermarket with him once a week to shop and I take my recycle stuff to their recycling point. But I still have all this bulky plastic waste in my home all week.)

I guess what my view is, is that we now have the organic, fair-trade, eco-friendly products that our parents didn't have. What we have lost is the way of life, the services, and the mind set that they had.

My dad was born not long after the war ended, and my mum in the early 50's, a time when reusing was about saving money rather than the planet, but it still works. Eco-friendly means economical as well as ecological.

Progress/Technology has given us the eco-products we need. Now what we have to do is dispose of the disposable, fast, mass consumerism, lazy society we live in, and return to the older, less wasteful more productive ways.

Our milkmen, family butchers, fruit & veg shops, fishmongers have gone extinct because of the cheap convenient way of the supermarket.

What I would like to see is the cost of organic, fair-trade and eco-products come down in price first of all. So that everyone has the ability to buy them, not just those that are well off. As much as I want to, I can rarely afford to buy organic, that's why we want to start growing our own! :flower:
I’d like to see the return of the milkman, family butcher, grocer, baker and fishmonger, selling affordable, organic food, in reusable or biodegradable packaging. But, until these types of products are as cheap to produce and sell as the supermarket non-organic, economy alternative, it won’t happen.
If everybody recycled that would be great, if nobody needed to recycle that would be better. :thumbright:


I also think that progress and technology have severely diminished the self sufficient skills in the home.
When my mum was little they had no computers, they didn’t even have a TV until she was about ten. She learned to knit, crochet, sew and make clothes, her mother taught her, as her mother had….and so on. When it came to my turn I wasn’t interested, I had computer games and kids TV. I can admit that I would rather have played on the computer than learn to knit. Now, with hindsight, it is something I deeply regret. I would love to know how to knit. A couple of hours knitting a jumper of an evening would be far more productive than sat flicking through thousands of channels, not watching anything! Melting your brain and wasting energy.

:oops: Oh I could go on (don't encourage me). :oops:

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Re: My view on "Green"

Post: #133632 Jandra
Sun Dec 07, 2008 9:01 am

Some good and relevant points were made in the past posts, but...

Rivers, which now harbour fish again, were absolutely foul 40 years ago. There was sulfur in petrol causing acid rain, there was lead in petrol; very healty as well. And though there were less cars, each car in itsself was much more polluting than current cars (less efficient in use and in production, not recyclable, no bioplastics used) and much less safe.
There were phosphates in detergents. There was landfill (in the Netherlands we burn all garbage now), much less control over chemical waste. Smog was much more common in big cities. The milkman's electric float was powered by electricity generated by dirty coal energy plants. DDT was still allowed and causing havoc in the food chain... and so on and forth.
All in all I think the environment is now much less polluted in the west than it was 40 years ago.

Also it was our parents' generation AND our own who massively turned to the supermarkets, causing family butchers to go bust.

Certainly some things were better a few decades ago and some things have deteriorated over time, but all in all I am glad to be living now.

Having said that, we sure need to work hard to improve matters. The most important thing is to make the pollutant pay for the pollution. So, make bulky packaging expensive. Make meat expensive, make cotton expensive, make electronics expensive, make petrol and petrol-based plastics expensive. That'll cause distress, but considering the fact that if all people on our planet would be living to the same standards as people in the USA, we'd need (at this very moment) 5 earths to sustain that. For all to live as we live in the Netherlands, we'd need 2 earths to sustain that. So we're consuming our resources fast and I'm in complete agreement that this is very alarming.

Just wanted to add a different perspective, because I honestly think that there has also been progress in the past decades. I now see many birds of prey and herons etc which were a rarity when I grew up.

Just my € 0.02.

Jandra

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Re: My view on "Green"

Post: #133654 pumpy
Sun Dec 07, 2008 5:29 pm

...... & a good 2-cents worth it was. I think that we must be lucky,living where we do, because all our local councils are heavily into re-cycling. We have the black wheely bin, for re-cyclable stuff, & the green one for general waste,(confusing). Also, for a small annual fee, we could have a brown one for garden waste,(altho' that doesn't particularly encourage folks to compost stuff). The green/black bins are emptied alternate weeks & this works well. A very good friend of mine lives in Hounslow,(what a s***-***e), where their local council provides a farty little green-plastic box for paper/cans. No wheely bins, so consequently, bin bags all over the place - (ideal for the rats). On collection day, all these pathetic plastic boxes are emptied into an open-backed lorry (with a sort of cage thingy) resulting in loads of paper blowing around the street. I don't know why they bother. Some people think that we're a bit backward,up here, but i'm not so sure!
it's either one or the other, or neither of the two.

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Re: My view on "Green"

Post: #133666 Flo
Sun Dec 07, 2008 8:27 pm

Of course we now send some of our plastics half way round the world to be recycled in rather basic conditions which do far more harm than good to the environment - but then it's not on our doorstep and we can't see it. :angryfire:

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Re: My view on "Green"

Post: #133669 Milims
Sun Dec 07, 2008 8:47 pm

Now for my tuppence worth! lol!
I have to say that I think much of the problem stems from those born before the war - like my parents. They suffered such deprivations that it seems that as soon as they had the opportunity for something easy - like convenience food, disposable stuff and electrical gadgets etc - they grabbed it with both hands and didn't let go. Sadly, that's how they taught their children. I know that my parents think we're mad for living the way we do and madder for wanting to take it further. They simply can't understand why I want to use vinegar and bicarb as cleaning agents when there are all those chemically aerosols out there! Sadly they don't seem to be able to see how much damage this consumerism and desire for convenience is having on the world that's left for their grand children and great grand children.
Ok - now I'll step down from my soap box!
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Re: My view on "Green"

Post: #133745 pumpy
Mon Dec 08, 2008 8:05 pm

Conversely, i was brought up by my grand-parents (in the 1950's/60's), & they still had the war-rationing mentality, whereby absolutely nothing went to waste. (we even had a special saucepan for melting-down the little bits of soapbars). I learnt so much stuff about growing/preserving veg, jam-making, composting, & generally being S.S.(ISH)...... & it hasn't done me any harm!! Nervous tics not withstanding!
it's either one or the other, or neither of the two.

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Re: My view on "Green"

Post: #133895 Clazbear
Wed Dec 10, 2008 5:03 pm

Perhaps when I first put this post up I didn't realise just how forwardly eco-thinking my folks were, I guess I assumed most people did what they did. I suppose when my dad went on strike in 1980 and mum had me at 2 years old and my brother new born they had to be more SS. Reusing and recycling within the home etc...
(we even had a special saucepan for melting-down the little bits of soapbars).
...I remember my mum doing that!

I do agree that their generation, and that of my grandparents had a huge deal to do with the chemical side of things and the pollution and the throw away culture that we endure today. but I think originally I was just talking about the landfill issue and recycling...
At this point I just want to talk about household waste and recycling/reusing.

...And I still feel that they had less waste to recycle in the first place than I have. They had very little plastic waste in the early days compared to myself, they composted all their household organic waste, which I've only just started doing. They re-used paper as much as possible. Such as envelopes from letters, the letters themselves when done with, all re-used as telephone and shopping list making note paper.

I know that my parents think we're mad for living the way we do and madder for wanting to take it further. They simply can't understand why I want to use vinegar and bicarb as cleaning agents when there are all those chemically aerosols out there!

I have recently told my mum what we are doing and where we plan to take it with this "Self-Sufficient-thing" My folks are more open minded, My mum is going to teach me and my daughter how to knit and crochet, they are going to let me have the bottom of their very long garden to grow veg, and to share the harvest of their apple trees and bramble bushes, (as well as my own garden). And she has said that if I want help or advice with any of it I just have to ask. She said that when I was little she used bicarb and vinegar alot to clean with and that they work really well. She just got into a bad habit later on of using chemical stuffs.

Considering how my folks used to live and how things were when I was a kid I'm supprised I'm not fully self sufficient yet. The way I think and my Ideals in a "Religious" way, as well, would make one assume I had "The Good Life" already well established.

I really do feel :pukeright: ,and cringe, and scold myself for having had such a wasteful decade as a family unit. I was more eco-aware when I lived with my parents than now. And that was their influence. I suppose I just got into a bad habbit of convenience when I moved away from home to start up on our own. I looked back at life then and though it was far less wasteful.
It's only in the last few months, since the financial situation has hit us hard, that we are actually getting our arses into gear and doing something about it. We've seen the light on Self-Sufficiency and I have gone back to my teenage "Celtic Beliefs" and life is getting better. :thumbright:


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

We have the black wheely bin, for re-cyclable stuff, & the green one for general waste,(confusing)


How confusing, here in Sheffield we have a black wheely bin for general waste, a smaller blue one to recycle paper and a big green one to recycle garden waste only (eg not compostable organics like potatoe peelings, oh no, just grass and hedge cuttings!), plastic, aluminium and glass have to be taken to the recycle centre. the black bin gets emptied weekly, the blue one fortnighty and I can't remember the last time the green one was done or when it's due again.


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