Balancing Act Part 1: I am a Hypocrite

My Pollution...comes from:

The rubbish I produce which then goes on to landfill sites and maybe my recycled rubbish is recycled!  So reality check  - below is where your trash goes....

Call me a cynic, but I sat in a seminar in London on waste technology and found out that 50% is recycled (well goes on a boat to China) and the other 50% is put back into a landfill.  My head spins 360 degrees to try to understand where is the UK's recycling programme?  15 years ago my friend's father who manages a waste plant in London told me the bottles and cans I was recycling was going into a landfill.  My head spun then but only half as fast as a naive fresh young Chemical Engineering graduate. 

From the landfill trash, I produce methane gas, carbon dioxide and water vapour.  All good green house gases.  The boat itself on the way to China has a good measure of carbon production. 

I still recycle in the belief that it is good practise.  Changes in attitudes in the UK are seeing cottage industries sprouting to use recycled rubbish.  A cheap resource that we don't have to dig up from the ground!  Germany has been practising this for years (Note it has been reported that 70% of rubbish in Germany is recycled compared to approximately 6% in the UK).

Supermarkets are saying they will produce less I hope the double shrink wrap, sometimes even triple shrink wraps will disappear.  I remember buying a pack of 4 apples from a supermarket in the US.  Each individual apple was wrapped, placed in a carton and shrink wrapped, and then finally contained in a hardened plastic outer!  Maybe the companies I've written to will reduce the unnecessary wrapping, to reduce the rubbish we produce and reduce the price we're paying for the unnecessary plastic and cardboard wraps.

Downside it does not look as posh - big deal!  What happened to that old saying "Do not judge a book by its covers".  Campaign companies that have too much wrapping, and let them know you will not buy their products until they change their policies.  People Power!

Consumerism says we like new attractive stuff and only the less wealthy or less developed countries recycle stuff.

Apparently 40% of my energy bills are due to heating and hot water if you're in a temperate climate like England or alternatively, air conditioning and hot water in a tropical country like Singapore.  Looking at my energy bills in the UK, this looks true.  Easy for me to separate my bills since I use gas for heating, hot water and cooking. (carbon dioxide and water vapour pollution). 

Turn down my thermostat by one degree and I can reduce the bill by 10%.  In fact I turned it off and wore multiple layers, practising for my polar journey.  My housemates were not too happy about it so now it's on at 18 degrees C.  After being in -23 degrees C in Lake Winnipeg, what is a mere 3 degrees in London?

Of course all hot water pipes are lagged.

Also apparently 15% of my electricity bill is spent on lighting. I'm wondering what about the other 85%? 

I find my bill is somewhat higher when the other people I live with use the oven.  Perhaps I should ban the use of the oven or even better break it and not be able to fix it or perhaps I am being overly paranoid.

Electricity generation is controversial in itself. 

If it is from nuclear, I am helping to produce nuclear waste that is mostly going to be dumped in some deep ocean and produce lots of strange fish with fluorescent light bulbs dangling from their head.  Oh well at least we'll see new animal species.  Might make up for the ones we're killing off.

If it is from solar powered or wind generated, the naysayers will ask:
- what method was used to construct the generators?
- how much energy was used to construct the plant?

My head hurts!  If you think I am confused - the answer is yes.

The rest of my pollution comes from me supporting industries that process and manufacture (what I buy and eat from the supermarkets, what I wear, etc), and provide transportation.  I use trains and planes....but not really automobiles.  The planes are necessary for what I do as an technical consultant going to companies to tell them how to process data, program bit and bobs.....and yes I do try to get them to hire me from home but companies like to see your face.....and I don't think that's for eye candy.....<for the guy who said so>.....well I'd like to believe they think I have some intelligence!

Bottom line is I am a hypocrite and as indicated in "The Matrix" we are viruses to this world.  The little I do is like a drop in an ocean or is it?....In the words of The Terminator: "I'll be back"