Friday, August 20, 2010

Where Is Away?

Blogroll Me!Three Appliances I won't be having in my new house. My new landlord who is a friend of mine of about 20 years asked me if I wanted a garbage disposal, and a dishwasher. It was nice of her to ask and I love that I have saved her some money on remodeling by rejecting two of the 2oth century luxury items that would not operate without the benefit of electricity should the power grid go down (God Forbid).

According to The Sierra Club Garbage disposals seem like the ultimate convenience–drop your banana peels, pizza crusts, and other leftovers down the drain, turn on the tap, flip a switch, and away they go. Problem is, when it comes to waste, whether it’s food or anything else, there is no away. Any “waste” that can’t be put back to use–either through reuse, recycling, or composting–becomes pollution that’s expensive to deal with and takes its toll on the environment.

Garbage disposals do keep food scraps out of landfills. That’s important because when materials like food, paper, or plant waste decompose in landfills, they produce methane, a greenhouse gas that is 23 times more potent than CO2. But garbage disposals don’t really solve the waste problem; they shift it to wastewater treatment systems instead. Food waste in wastewater increases levels of nutrients like nitrogen, which are great when added to the soil but harmful in our waterways. To deal with excess nutrients, municipal water utilities have to add expensive systems to their treatment plants.

Moreover, it takes resources for your disposal to send your food scraps on that unnecessary journey. It doesn’t require much energy, but in a year’s time you’ll be sending more than 900 gallons of water down the drain. “Waste,” as green architect William McDonough likes to say, “is basically stupid.” The greenest way to deal with food scraps is to compost them and nourish plants with the nutrient-rich results.

It is harder to find literature that supports my determination to live without a dish washer. I believe I am faster, more efficient, less wasteful than a dishwasher. I love washing my Fiesta dishes and I would miss this daily ritual. Once again if the power grid went down, the dishwasher wouldn't operate anyway and I think I can best use the space it would occupy for a cupboard of preps.

The third appliance I will be doing without at least for a little while is a vacuum cleaner. I requested no carpeting in my new home. She installed these beautiful wood floors that will be very easy to maintain. I am happy to be sweeping and mopping my space and not having to store and cart around this appliance that also is dependent on the power grid.

If I were to do without a 4th appliance it would be a clothes dryer. I am planning on putting up a clothes line and using it most of the time. The dryer will be used mostly in the winter and emergency occasions. As long as I am drumming semi professionally I will need to be able to put together my performance duds...sometimes on short notice. I am lucky to be able to be part of this decision making process. Thanks Nesley for asking me and letting me choose.

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