Wait! Don’t throw that away!

Flow chart

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9 thoughts on “Wait! Don’t throw that away!

  1. This is a very useful guide, and helps remind us of all the options other than simply throwing things away – of which there are many. And your final point about looking for ways to avoid a “throw away” in the future is key – we may be forced to throw away wrappers and containers, but it is worth considering if we can bring our own container, or purchase items with less wrapping. This is true even on the “Recycle” path.

    • Thanks, Glenn — and that’s a really good point about recycling. Right after I posted this, it struck me that reusing is a better option than recycling (or even composting), so I made a few changes to reflect that. Throwing stuff away is not as easy as it seems.

  2. I like this chart hopefully it will get people thinking a little more. Unfortunately the wealthier people get, the more willing they are to waste and throw things away. What if we kept being careful with our waste and did something good with the money we saved by not wasting so much. Poor people find ways to make things last and use things over and over again. Being wealthy is a privilege that shouldn’t harm our world.

    • Living sustainably is one of the few areas where being less well off helps — which at least partly explains why people in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and South-East Asia waste less than 10% of the food we do. Some of it is cultural too, and hopefully if enough of us talk about these things, we’ll make others more mindful of what they put in the trash, and nudge things in the right direction. I’m a big believer in nudging.

      • We have a huge problem at my child’s school. The children are throwing away up to 75% of the food they bring to school everyday! It is horrible and Livvey is appalled by what she sees going on. Part of the problem is that the kids are encouraged, even peer pressured into finishing their lunch early because they don’t get to play until the majority of the kids have finished and they get such short recesses, that they don’t want to waste them eating. Often Livvey will come home famished, with her food that she will eat then, saying, “I just didn’t have enough time to eat”.

      • Strange system — seems like the fix would be to set a fixed length lunch period. Have you suggested something like that to the school?

  3. Flow charts are the best! So in-your-face.

    Trash is our thing. We throw away a very small bag of non-reusable, un-recyclable waste every couple of weeks (family of six). It’s so small in fact, that I can drop it in the waste receptacle while I pump fuel into my car. It powers the way we — or even IF we — buy stuff.

    • Wow — I think you’re my new hero. We’re definitely not doing as well as you (yet), but the trips to the trash chute are getting less frequent.

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