zero down zero waste

Read this and ... recycle. Use it for firestarter or cat box liner or packing filler or papier-mache art (perhaps a voodoo doll of your ex is in order).

Read this and … recycle.

Use it for firestarter or cat box liner or packing filler or papier-mache art (perhaps a voodoo doll of your ex is in order).

Failing the need for any of the above, drop this newspaper off at your local recycling depot so it can be shipped south and turned into something new.

If you’re lucky it’ll come back to you as an egg carton, which you can, after eating the eggs, convert into a feeding dish for chicks or kittens or a painting tray – all of which may be infinitely more useful (though we find that hard to imagine).

In any case, the act of reincarnation will set off a few endorphins, whether it’s the newspaper or the cup that holds your morning Joe.

Unless you’re sipping from a ceramic mug or an unbleached biodegradable affair, your coffee cup is headed straight for the dump, leaving your grandchildren to unravel the mystery of “roll up the rim” 50 years from now.

That’s where the wrap on your morning muffin will end up too, unless it comes without one. Some do. The choice is yours.

Better still, you should also reject the small bag and napkins that are offered, and tossed into the nearby trash, if you really want to take a small step into the brave, new world of zero waste.

Zero waste. It sounds too good to be true and there are certainly those who think it is.

That we would ever reach a point where we no longer need landfills, that all we produce is used again and again, does seem preposterous. Changing the way we consume and discard would take such a monumental shift in our thinking, it’s hard not to fall in line behind the naysayers who are sure it will never happen.

Until you stop and realize that not all that long ago if you had walked into any major Yukon car dealership and asked for zero down, zero interest and zero payments until spring you would have been laughed out of the showroom and promptly escorted to the nearest mental health centre.

That was then and this is now.

Today you’d promptly be ushered into the sales office and offered the most comfortable chair.

So maybe it’s not that farfetched when zero-waste proponents tell us this could be our new reality by 2040.

That’s more than 25 years away. Long enough to believe it’s possible, yet far enough down the road that today’s politicians can make pledges and promises they know they’ll never have to keep.

In the short term, they can safely back the push to reduce the amount of garbage going into the landfill by 50 per cent by 2015.

It’s a start and any effort in that direction should be applauded.

Zero waste may seem like a lofty goal, but it’s certainly worth shooting for, whether we make it or not.