Jess Parsons

Jess Parsons

Posted May 1, 2011

Published in Green

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Minimise waste in Planet A space

Read More: bulk buying, compost, empty space, garbage, Grand Canyon, home cooking, landfill, packaging, processed food, recycling, retail, rubbish, secondhand, space, trash, vegan

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Now that I've covered outer space exploration, why not look at space on Earth?

As an aspiring minimalist in a world of excess and extremes, I know that empty spaces represent both conscious choices and hard work.  Without attention, empty spaces fill up fast.

Ask yourself: Why not make the Grand Canyon a landfill? 

landfill.jpg Like fractal geometry, at whatever scale, empty space has impact.  I value the space I have reclaimed in our house by removing objects that are not useful enough to stay.  And I'm quite frankly excited about our trash bin.

To our neighbours, on trash day

To you, the empty space in our trash bin is not worth a thought - except when you put your overflow into it.

Sometimes the empty space is our missing bin, because we only put our trash every other week.  Even our recycling bin stays echoingly empty for long periods of time.

I'm proud of that empty space.  It's no accident but a result of hundreds of individual choices we make.

Would you like to take out the trash less often?

Avoiding waste

  • Vegan - you can buy vegan foods with a whole range of packaging options, but we don't have meat-contaminated plastic packaging to deal with.  Or bones, which must be disposed of in even more packaging...or perhaps Photoshopped out.
  • Natural foods - less processed foods have less packaging
  • Home cooking - we do sometimes indulge in takeaway food and it excites the whole family, but for health and cost reasons, I keep a conscious tally of how often
  • Bulk buying - several kilos of cashews or raisins come freshly packed in a large ziploc bag, and after we have used up the food, the ziploc bag can protect other foods (like bulk flour or oats)  or even a kid's puzzle.
  • Secondhand buying - the retail packaging is long gone and you often don't even need a bag to get it home.
  • No buying - keep items like soda and bottled water off your shopping list entirely and you are already ahead of the game.

Waste not destined for the trash

  • Composting - no food scraps go into our trash and almost none down the waste disposal.  The Auckland City Council runs free composting classes and perhaps your area does too.
  • Recycling - Auckland has made this trivial by providing bigger wheelie bins for recycling of all types than for trash.  Again due to our purchasing choices, it is usually put out every other collection period.
  • Burning - in the winter, we turn waste papers and paper packaging into heat.  The ashes go into the compost.

Why worry?  The council supplies these bins, and if we have space in ours, why not fill it with yours?  Well, the Grand Canyon is still empty, I suppose, so fill 'er up!

Now is also a great time to protect the Grand Canyon from uranium mining.

A note on the Final Frontier

We've already made serious inroads into depositing unwanted junk in space:


"There is no federal restriction on the dumping of garbage into space.  In the absence of this regulation, space missions will continue to risk their longevity to suddenly significant pieces of scrap as small as a centimeter in length.   Based on the gathered evidence, dumping trash into space would, be and is, an unintelligent decision that causes many more problems than it could ever possibly solve.  Before further contaminating Earth’s orbit, more thought has to go into creating an efficient trash collection service or other means of improving the situation instead of continuing to add to it."

In other words, just like on Earth.

Yes, you make a difference!

Nobody would ask you to do all these things, all at once.  It has taken me all my life to become this odd.

Is there just one waste habit you are not comfortable with today, that you could commit to change tomorrow?



o buying - keep items like soda and bottled water off your shopping list entirely and you are already ahead of the game