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I am taken aback at the amount of garbage I produce - and yet, it's a small amount relatively speaking. When I lived in the UK, I was shocked at how much more garbage most neighbours would produce. We never filled our rubbish wheelie-bin but many houses had more than one and they were full.

An ungodly amount of my waste is superfluous packaging, but there's also a lot of cans and jars, and some food waste (mostly due to the fact that I live in a very small household where we eat at work a lot, and it's difficult to buy small enough amounts of fresh food so it doesn't go bad.

When I was a child glass jars/bottles would be reused by returning them to any grocery store. That system was ended as an "improvement" ("nonreturnable glass" being billed as progress in institutional ad campaigns). At least now cans, glass, cardboard and tetra-brik are recycled (or at least collected separately as if for recycling).

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu May 13th, 2010 at 11:22:50 AM EST
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I suspect a huge amount of savings could be made with smarter packaging - somethings the late rdf would frequently talk about.

Recycling plastic has begun for earnest a few months ago in my town. Last month we unsubscribed the two wheelie-bins we had (one for waste, one for green waste). We now use a small container for green waste, and asked if we could empty it once every week in the bin of a neighbour. On a good week we fill our kitchen trash bin, whereas it used to be two-and-half.

It's the plastic wrappings that makes the difference. Every week a full bag to the container.

Cans are probably next on the list to get recycled here. I think it was Sweden where I noticed can recycling. I'm still amazed this isn't practice around here.

Oh, and I just read that tar is pretty effectively recycled, at least in the Netherlands (nearly 90 percent).

by Nomad on Thu May 13th, 2010 at 06:07:04 PM EST
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Recycling of beverage cans - as well as beverage glass and plastic beverage bottles - has been a success story in Sweden for a long time. With a small return (about 5 eurocents for a can) aluminium cans are recycled at rate of about 90%, iirc.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Fri May 14th, 2010 at 08:26:44 AM EST
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