Does zero waste mean no recycling?

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janetlynne janetlynne
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Does zero waste mean no recycling?

I'm wondering if zero waste means no garbage, or nogarbage and also no recycling?  I ask because I see all the garbage fits into a little jar, but are other things being recycled? Things like used light bulbs or old pillows. Maybe a silly question, but I was wondering about items like old pillows that can't go in the recycling bin, they just become garbage don't they?  
Jay Jay
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Re: Does zero waste mean no recycling?

It's been a while since i read ZWH, but I think waste is waste. Glass, metals can be recycled, but if you don't use them to start with, then the energy required to recycle, etc. isn't wasted. Plastic AT BEST is only downcycled and perpetuates plastic in the environment. There's a lot of discussion going on now, too, about food waste, with the consensus seeming to be that composting, though better than putting into the garbage, is the last choice.
I'd suggest (as do others) that you look at the entire lifecycle of anything you purchase, use. How much/what kind of materials and energy goes into its production and distribution, how long will it last, and finally what happens when it is no longer functional? In your example, choosing a pillow with feathers (or even latex), manufactured in country with quality materials will last a long time, can be refilled or made into a smaller pillow, and finally, when no longer useable can be composted or, in the case of feathers, be used by four legged wild things for nesting. Plastic foam, synthetic coverings = Trash.
blancmama1 blancmama1
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Re: Does zero waste mean no recycling?

Seconding what Jay said, having just listened to a podcast with Bea from July, the focus of zero-waste is refusing things we don't need. By doing so, we prevent the need to have them produced. Avoid plastic especially as it is at best recycled twice or trashed at worst. Recycling isn't against zero-waste. Zero-waste just means thinking through consumption so we don't consume without thinking and toss it in the recycling bin or trash.

An important part of refuse is to contact someone in charge to let them know why you refused (you can contact a manufacturer directly, store manager, or even start a petition on change.org if there aren't zero-waste options available). After refusing, then comes reducing your needs so that you consume less. This can be deciding not to use a pillow, using less pillows, or doing as Jay suggested and making your pillows last so it needs to be replaced less often, if at all.

After reducing consumption, then comes reusing. With the pillow example, this kind of overlaps with reducing the need for new pillows. You just maintain the pillows you already have or rework them into smaller pillows, etc. (You can actually wash/whiten and fluff pillows to keep them nicer. I found out how on one good thing by Jillie.com )

After all this comes recycling, which is only for products that you haven't refused (you accepted it), you reduced your consumption of (you only use as needed), and you have reused (gotten as much out of the product as possible). You may now feel good about recycling it, after following the previous steps in order.

On Nov 11, 2016 2:34 PM, "Jay [via .]" <[hidden email]> wrote:
It's been a while since i read ZWH, but I think waste is waste. Glass, metals can be recycled, but if you don't use them to start with, then the energy required to recycle, etc. isn't wasted. Plastic AT BEST is only downcycled and perpetuates plastic in the environment. There's a lot of discussion going on now, too, about food waste, with the consensus seeming to be that composting, though better than putting into the garbage, is the last choice.
I'd suggest (as do others) that you look at the entire lifecycle of anything you purchase, use. How much/what kind of materials and energy goes into its production and distribution, how long will it last, and finally what happens when it is no longer functional? In your example, choosing a pillow with feathers (or even latex), manufactured in country with quality materials will last a long time, can be refilled or made into a smaller pillow, and finally, when no longer useable can be composted or, in the case of feathers, be used by four legged wild things for nesting. Plastic foam, synthetic coverings = Trash.


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Catherine Sultana Catherine Sultana
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Re: Does zero waste mean no recycling?

In reply to this post by janetlynne
One idea if your pillow is a down filled pillow is to locate a local laundry and see if they will wash your pillows for you (requires opening pillow up and restitching after cleaning). My dear old mom does this periodically and has kept her down pillows for decades. As for the foam variety, sorry, no tips at this time other than putting an ad on Freecycle and hope someone creative has a need...
coldswim coldswim
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Re: Does zero waste mean no recycling?

In reply to this post by janetlynne
I always assumed many of the ZW people using jars as trash cans are using public  garbage cans and dumpsters to dump stuff.

I love those memory foam pillows better than the down alternative pillows, although I have both.  I took a memory foam pillow to the animal shelter and they use them as pet beds.   If your pillows don't have bedbugs, think about giving a used pillow to a homeless person.  I've given blankets, pillows, and sheets to homeless people, who are always glad to take them.  

Like mattresses, pillows can make or break your sleep and affect your musculoskeletal system and in susceptible people can cause headaches, so get the ones that work for you.  Deal with disposal when you're ready to deal with it. Google "memory foam recycling" or whatever when you're ready to get rid of them. Lots of suggestions.  
Josereyes69 Josereyes69
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Re: Does zero waste mean no recycling?

In reply to this post by janetlynne
Recycling isn't perfect but it's definitely less wasteful than landfilling.   Not purchasing is best and reuse is second best.
coldswim coldswim
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Re: Does zero waste mean no recycling?

I'm guessing a lot of ZW people end up trashing a shit ton of stuff in order to buy the hipper more cool products like wooden toothbrushes, organic cotton underwear, a stainless steel water bottle when they've got plastic ones already sitting around their home, etc.  The hypocrisy  is astounding. ZW is basically a bourgeois movement of  imperialist core anti-science rich folks who think using a bamboo toothbrush and buying anti-GMO will "help" the enviro, after trashing their perfectly usable plastic toothbrushes and plastic spatulas.

Being anti-GMO and pro-organic is bad for the enviro and won't end starvation. Eating meat is bad for the enviro and there's a fine line between animal exploitation and human exploitation. And anybody supporting capitalism and imperialism can't be ZW at the same time.