Proud Co-Founder of Transition Town High Wycombe
Proud Member of the Low Carbon Chilterns Cooperative
Proud owner & retrofitter of Superhome 59
This website proud host of the High Wycombe Local Food Guide
5 R's: Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Respect,
The more we throw away the more we
consume. Consumption draws in disposable consumer goods which
all require Fossil Fuels in manufacture. Oil, Gas and Coal are
so ubiquitous in our lives that we don't see how they are used
in every piece of food we have ever eaten, every CD we have
listened to, everyplace we have driven to, every person we have
ever met - everything.
So everything you have ever bought came into your possession
through fossil fuels being burnt and CO2 released. These
products all have "embedded carbon" for this reason. If you just
throw it away and replace it with something new then all that
Carbon needs to be dug up and released all over again. Hence the less you use and the smaller your Carbon
Footprint. The less you use the more Fossil Fuels for your
children to enjoy. But if we only recycle then we may find our
consumption increasing as we re-assure ourselves that we can
always recycle. We must stop & think. Can we reduce consumption?
Do we need tha new thing or repair the old? Can we just look
after our things better? Read on...
Your Next Ten Steps
The Coming New Reality
Already across the UK Local Governments are cutting back on
Rubbish Collection services. This is for two purposes -
firstly the landfill sites are filling up quickly -
secondly, this is causing costs to rise. In order to stop
everyone's Taxes from rising our Councils have to cut
back, they simply cannot find enough holes to bury
everything in. For some reason this has become a Political
hot potato. Candidates for local elections even stood for
election on the principle that they would not allow any
reduction in Rubbish Collection services. Here at Post-Carbon Living we say this is NOT a problem. If you
need to have your Bin emptying EVERY week then you are doing
something wrong. There is little or no reason why every
green scrap can't be composted or every plastic bottle not
recycled. All paper can be recycled as can all glass. So
what is the problem? The average household can easily
recycle over half of all waste. At the end of each week your
bin should be a cavernous hole with plenty of space left.
So, what is the excuse? Normally "I can't be bothered". We
have all seen the Bins overflowing haven't we? We see the
households that don't put their recycling bins out. We know
who you are. Soon there will be no where to hide. No
excuses. Soon Councils will start charging offenders. Not
recycling is not only socially unacceptable it is wrong and
it will start to cost you dear. Good! It is wasteful and
every perpetrator of unnecessary waste should be ashamed of
themselves. The recyclers can stand proud. Be an example to your community, friends and neighbours.
Recycling is simply a good habit. In Post-Carbon households it is simply inconceivable that any piece of
recycling could ever end up in a bin. Most of us still have
a long way to go. Some 'ultra-greenies' throw away a bin
full only once every three or four MONTHS! That may be a bit
extreme but these people have a seriously LOW Carbon
Footprint and we can all learn new tricks from them.
So, go out there! Recycle. Be proud and create that new
But it isn't that simple. Recycling is a good start but its
contribution is trivial without all the other "5 Rs":
Reduce consumption - do we need this
new stuff at all?
Reuse old things - get on EBay,
Freecycle, Freegle, or go to a car boot sale or a good
old fashioned jumble sale.
Repair something broken or worn - do
you have the skills? Have we lost this ability. Go see
our "Make Step".
Respect what you have. Look after
your things better. Buy products of a higher quality
that will last longer.
Recycle what you have when it is
truly at the end of its life
It seems the entire
World has gone mad against plastic bags. Sure they are ugly,
mostly made of Oil, won't biodegrade, wasteful and deadly to
marine life. However, their contribution to Climate Change is
insignificant. On average we consume 134 Plastic Bags a year.
That is just 2kg of Carbon. Considering the average citizen in
the UK is responsible for 11 tonnes of Carbon a year then your
Plastic bag addiction contributes just one five thousandth of
your total footprint.
Sure, stop using
them, but get things in proportion. We would rather you stopped
flying, used public transport and insulated your home.
- Stop consuming like it is going out
- Stop throwing things away if they can
- Reduce, reuse and recycle until you
don't need your Bin emptying until every second week
- Set yourself this target and then
pride yourself, each week, in reaching or exceeding this
- Don't forget to compost all your
- Fit one or more water butts to the
down-pipes outside your home to recycle rainwater for
cleaning the car or watering the garden
- Do NOT drive to the recycling center.
Do this whilst making the trip for another reason.... And,
please, switch the engine OFF whilst off-loading!
- Buy reusable rather than disposable
items - particularly Nappies. Use reusable's for your