Here at Savista we pride ourselves on our commitment to an environmental ethic. Over the past few years our sustainability initiatives have been big and small, some only discernable to the critical eye, and others in plain sight. This list includes the decision to paint the roof white in compliance with the albedo effect, solar water heaters and a chemical-free freshwater pool that also waters the garden and recharges the aquifer. We have not plastered the place with Reduce, Reuse, Recycle signs and buzzwords as one would if these measures were in accordance with a fad, but have instead incorporated these environmentally friendly measures into the lifestyle of Savista, quietly installing low-flow shower-heads, dual flush toilets, CFL light bulbs and energy conservation appliances that are here to stay.
So, what next? A very important component of one’s carbon footprint after energy, meat consumption and transportation is WASTE! It seems that it is time to look closely at our waste, and ask some important questions. Where did it come from? What is it made of? And when we are done with it, where should it go?
Up until this point we have composted our organics and recycled our bottles and cans, but because the production of non-organic waste is so minimal, disposal has never been a pressing issue. But even with limited production, these remain important questions and often times lead to positive self-reflection, an inquisitive mind and creative action.
STEP ONE: SORTING. We have created a space where we can sort our waste into the following categories: plastics, metals, electronic waste, paper, cardboard, batteries and light bulbs. The categories will expand as time goes on, but for now this is all that we have come across.
Responsibly disposing of one’s waste becomes much more difficult in a rural location. In the city, one can feel pleased to have sorted out recyclables and place them outside to be collected. The process is not as simple in the countryside. Waste is typically burned or buried here. And only that which one receives a return on will be collected, but what about the rest? Burying toxics such as light bulbs, batteries and electronic waste in an unlined pit can lead to chemicals leaching into the groundwater. And burning of such toxics is another type of harmful pollution to the air and lungs.
STEP TWO: RESEARCH. That brings us to step two. As we come to the end of our products lifecycle, we will sort and hold these materials while research as to their proper disposal continues. This is where we stand currently, in the research phase, having taken a pledge to dispose with our products properly (step three), to change our purchasing patterns (step four) to limit waste accumulation, and to focus on reusable items (step five).
There will be plenty to come on this subject, look out for further posts showcasing Savista’s progress as well as some tips to a more environmentally responsible lifestyle!
For more food for thought, check out: www.storyofstuff.com ! Annie Leonard does a wonderful job of putting the lifecycle of our products into perspective: harvesting materials to disposal, enjoy!