What a waste!

I hate waste. Here are ten of the worst offences that make me see red on a regular basis:

1. Books that are bought and never read

2. DVDs that are only ever watched once

3. The lake of milk left in a bowl of cereal when all the cereal has been eaten

4. Drawing on only one side of a piece of paper

5. A bath that has taken more time to fill than the time actually spent in it

6. Half full cups of juice left on the table at the end of meal

7. Children who leave food on their plates and then return hungry asking for something different half an hour later

8. Christmas presents that have still not been opened and played with by the following Christmas

9. Toys that are stood on and broken because nobody could be bothered to put them away

10. Appliances that are left switched on day and night so that the batteries have run out when you actually need to use them

….that is only the start of it. Think of all that is thrown away at kids’ birthday parties….of perfectly good furniture and furnishings that are discarded just because we fancy a change…I could go on and on and on.

So imagine my joy on Saturday morning when I chatted to Joan at the Fair trade coffee morning. She never cuts string; she unties it and reuses it. She has a drawer full of candles collected from Christingle services over the years. She even used to unravel her sons’ jumpers and reknit them in a bigger size. “Green is not new” she points out. “Anyone who lived through the war knows how to save - anything and everything.”

It set me thinking. In a climate of hardship and ’just enough’, people knew how to reuse and recycle and ration themselves. But how hard is that to do when we live in a land of plenty?

Our boys were astounded at the weekend when they heard that only 8% of the world’s population own cars. We may not be as rich as the people next door. But in the world’s terms, we are definitely rich. How do we stop our kids taking food and water and shelter and healthcare and education and cars for granted?

How do we stem the tide of waste?

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