I just finished reading an article in the BBC about a retired teacher who goes to great lengths to avoid producing waste. It was amazing to read about how she can find life in seemingly old, and useless items, time and time again. For instance a pair of pants that no longer fit, first became part of a bed for the dog and later became elbow patches on a jacket.

Producing such little waste was commons a couple of generations ago, and is probably still common in rural settings, but in the city this is basically unheard of. At my grandmother’s home in Colombia I remember that she was able to produce practically no waste. Paper and other materials that burned were used in the wood oven, vegetarian food scraps went to the cows, and meat scraps were used to feed the dogs. Glass was the only thing she had trouble reusing, but there was an old man who went by a couple of times a month collecting glass for recycling. Me, I have always lived in cities and as much as I try, I still produce much more garbage.

Still there is a push to be more aware of our wastefulness and certain communities in the UK are taking matters seriously. The UK local councils of Bath and North East Somerset promoted “Zero Waste Week“, where people were encouraged to produce as little waste as possible. Some participants were able to reduce their waste by as much as 75%!

If you are still having trouble producing less waste you can use Freecycle, a great website that allows you to connect with other people who may want old things that you are giving away. Freecycle also has local websites where you can connect with people in your community.