Thursday, April 5, 2012

Wasted Stuff

Compost Bin
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.” WWII slogan

I recently read a news article which stated 50% of the world’s food goes to waste, and the average American throws away 400lbs of food per year. I find that statistic astonishing, but it is probably true. 

My mother is incapable of wasting food. Over the years she has tried many methods of saving food, from unstaling stale cereal by drying it out in the oven to watering down the milk. She really instilled in me and my siblings the whole concept of not being wasteful with food, toys, clothes, pets, heating or money. Wasting food is indicative of over-consumption and being wasteful in other areas of life. My brother makes his living by buying used stuff from flea markets or yard sales, and then reallocating the objects to ebay or antique malls. He is one of the few people I know who actually enjoys his job. It is an interesting concept that a person doesn’t need to create, grow or invent a new product to make money. My brother simply moves an already used product to another location and sells it for a higher price than what he paid for it. His business should be the ultimate model for people wishing to lead a less wasteful life by reducing, reusing and reallocating.  

There is a group of people called Freegans who do something similar to my brother’s business, but they are more motivated by lofty morals and ethical concerns.

According to their website:

“Freeganism is a total boycott of an economic system where the profit motive has eclipsed ethical considerations and where massively complex systems of productions ensure that all the products we buy will have detrimental impacts most of which we may never even consider. Thus, instead of avoiding the purchase of products from one bad company only to support another, we avoid buying anything to the greatest degree we are able.”

In other words, they are dumpster divers with a large vocabulary and a college education.

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