March 13, 2017

Reducing Waste Feels Great, Naturally



The wastes excreted by consumer societies are nothing short of a crime against nature. According to Mother Nature's Laws, waste is illegal, and the fines we are currently paying are measured in environmental destruction and a loss of the natural services upon which we rely.

Our processes are linear, unlike the cycles found all around us in the natural world. Industrial processing races straight from the extraction of raw materials directly to the ecosphere via the shortest possible path.

It doesn't have to be that way, although it is the most profitable in the short, short, short term.

In nature nothing is wasted. What is left over from one process is taken up by another, and so on through the cycle. From Producers to Consumers to Decomposers, eventually all that is left are the constituent components of life - which are then taken up by organisms, closing the loop.

And so it goes.


One person, giving all their time to a no-waste lifestyle, 
makes news. 
Many people, giving a little time,  
makes for world-changing events. 
- paraphrasing Peace Pilgrim


I discovered recently, a small scale clothing company that is emulating natural 'material' cycles. In the production of the clothing, the company uses waste as a valuable resource. All the fabric that the company uses is sourced from brokers that deal in the waste that comes plopping out of industrial clothing manufacturers.

For the large clothing company it is more profitable to toss the scrap material than it is to deal with it in a more eco-friendly manner. Industry experts estimate that anywhere from 15 to 20 percent of material used to produce clothing ends up wasted. Tons and tons of it end up in landfills.

The no-waste clothing company:

- makes all clothing from larger pieces of waste cloth.
- what is left over from that is cut into rectangles, sewn together, and used to make more clothes.
- what is left over from that (small bits of cloth and thread) is used to make paper, which is made into cards and sold.

When all is done there is nothing left over. Nothing. Everything has been used up.

This innovative clothing business is closing the loop in the use of materials. I find it impressive, logical, and hopeful. To me, this feels great, just as it does when I creatively work toward the goal of living a no-waste lifestyle.

It can be done. Nature has been doing it for billions of years.

First consumerism and it's unnatural excrements must go, then we can "close the loop" on our resource use. Everyone will feel better because it's the natural way... and nature knows best.


10 comments:

  1. I think we need to move away from self-interest towards a biocentric way of life. It would be great relief for humanity to let go of the ridiculous self-interest that currently governs our world.
    Alex

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Alex,

      From what I see, most people make decisions about consuming goods and services in the same way:

      1. Do I want this thing, service or entertainment experience?
      2. Do I have money to pay for it right now?
      3. If I don't have the money right now, can I get credit to pay for it right now?
      4. Get it!

      Nothing else enters into the equation. But we have been trained to believe that our whole reason for existence is to buy stuff, so you can't really blame people. All the lies and coverups are to keep people ignorant of the truth... and buying things.

      If you aren't buying things, there is something wrong with you.

      Delete
    2. I'm usually a pretty optimistic person, but I'm coming to the conclusion that for most people it comes down to self-interest and buying things and services is what gives life meaning.
      For a long time I thought that everyone was like me and people love this planet and take an interest in this life. I now know this not the way and in general people do not study classic Chan literature, study ecology, watch hours of lectures on cosmology and biology. I just thought this was normal as our minds are so powerful, but the more I learn the removed people seem to be from the natural way. When you give up materialism you see status and hierarchy in a different way and no longer have an interest in it.
      I found this website has some good tips on reducing waste:
      http://www.zerowastehome.com/about/tips/
      And I got rid of shaving foam a while back and now use only soap to shave. I don't use anything to wash except water which works well once the body adjusts.
      Thanks for the work you do at NBA, so rare to meet anyone who thinks amount the way they live their life. I we always carry this way as it's in my DNA and I enjoy the simplicity and peace of mind it brings.
      Thanks for the hard work and peace to all things.
      Alex

      Delete
    3. Alex,

      Mainstream life, for many, has turned into a waking dream where the harder they run, the farther behind they get. And there is some one, or some thing, chasing them. Choosing simplicity is waking up.

      When one has time to rest and eat and slow down, life takes on a completely different focus. Time to do, to be, or to not do, as you wish. The System starts to look very unnatural. And illogical. For example, "medical mistakes in U.S. hospitals kill four jumbo jets’ worth of people each week".

      Each week. I wonder what the new administration is doing about that? And why aren't Americans more afraid of doctors and hospitals than terrorists?

      When one has time, one can think on such things. It seems insane. The Masters certainly do not want us thinking that the whole thing is insanity based on insanity. You may wonder how, exactly, we got here, and what we need to do to get out. That is a threat these days, but it isn't illegal, yet.

      Many have a lack of curiosity about, and a total disconnect, with the simple ways of living that got humanity through tough times over the last 200,000 years. They may think that the way things are now are the way things will always be. But that has never been true.

      I would rather wake up gently on my own terms, rather than being shaken awake only to realize that there is an ongoing emergency that needs to be responded to post haste.

      Nice to see you are continuing to cut the unnecessary from your life. Peace of mind is paramount. Thanks for adding to our blog.

      Delete
  2. Hi Gregg,

    great to hear about the no waste clothing company. I imagine that in our grandparent's day there was a lot less waste in the clothing industry, and of course people were happy to own a much smaller selection of clothing. Ultimately I would love to make all of my clothing (I am not a talented sewer by any means!) Making my own would mean just buying linen off the bolt, and finding a use for any leftover scraps.

    Where I live there is a very limited range of second hand clothing but I have managed to find some clothing for work that is thoughtfully produced. The linen is grown in Lithuania - I am happy with linen because it lasts much longer than cotton and is less water/chemical intensive. The clothing is not made in an Asian sweatshop, and the fabric is dyed with low-impact dye - I need to research what happens to dye when the clothing is composted. The company also makes things from fabric scraps. I have some tunic style dresses and drawstring pants which can be worn together or separately, meaning I have less need for separate outfits. The fabric could be made into something else when it is worn out and judging by the quality this will not happen for some time. The thing I am not so happy about is the carbon miles - short of keeping a sheep in the back garden and spinning my own wool for clothing I can't solve this at the moment!

    Your post brings up a very important issue - where our stuff begins it's life. This has been on my mind a lot lately in relation to food. Even if I was lucky enough to have a big selection of bulk food in my area (I'm thinking rice,beans,flour etc...) I have realised that most of it arrives at the shop in big plastic bags. I was shocked to be at the supermarket in the evening recently and discover that the organic tinned tomatoes etc..all arrive on big pallets - heavily wrapped in plastic!

    My conclusion from all of this is that for the things we actually do need we should be first going as local as we can - make it yourself, grow it, barter for it, convince someone to make it locally - and second, tackle the producers of our food and other items about the manufacture and delivery process. It's all very well to take your own cloth bag to the shops, but that seems a bit of a drop in the ocean when we look at the origin of the things we actually need to buy.

    Madeleine.x

    ReplyDelete
  3. Karin in BCMarch 14, 2017

    Gregg, do you have a name or a link to this company? Are their products available in Canada? It sounds like something I'd love to support!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Karin,

      You can find out more about this zero waste clothing company here.

      Delete
  4. Gregg,
    I appreciate you describing the clothing company (which sounds great!), but not providing a link for readers to follow and BUY!!! It is refreshing and something I love about this blog and community. Keep up the great work!
    Erin

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Erin,

      I agree! The green wash seems to be that we need to buy something to solve all of our problems.

      Madeleine.x

      Delete
    2. I agree too. I've always appreciated your steadfast commitment to not sell anything on this blog. Flip side, I enjoyed reading this company's story. It's nice to know there are places figuring this out.

      I don't need clothes, rarely buy clothes. If I do, they are always pre-owned. I figure people and the environment have already been exploited making the billions of garments which exist on the planet today. Might as well keep using them rather than buy new.

      It's becoming increasingly difficult to find clothing made of earth friendlier fabrics. Everything seems to be made from petroleum. And the content of materials mad from petroleum is increasing. More often I see clothing made of 100% nylon, rayon = petroleum. This whole clean and green thing has a lot of scam in it. They want your money, they don't give a damn about the environment.

      Delete

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