Approaching Zero

I used to make biodiesel in my basement for my 1998 VW Jetta TDI. I drove more than 100,000 miles exclusively on fuel I made. I wasn’t interested in making fuel for lots of people, just enough for me to drive my car to and from work and the occasional family trip. I was careful about how much waste vegetable oil I collected because I knew exactly how much I needed and having too much would lead to collection and storage issues. Making a surplus of biodiesel would create more glycerin (the bi-product of biodiesel manufacturing) than I could reasonably deal with. The point is, I could make enough to do the vast majority of my driving and it was not inconvenient. I didn’t make new work for myself beyond the expressed task and I was content with the outcome.

This approach has translated in other places in our lives. Our effort to reduce our heating oil use/costs lead to installing a solar hot water unit on the roof for Spring and Summer, and burning wood almost exclusively in the Fall and Winter. We haven’t reached zero yet but 100 gallons a year is pretty awesome in my book.

As we began to analyze our waste and recycling habits, we recognized that we have direct control over our waste/recycling streams. Not unlike picking up more waste vegetable oil than I needed, we can decide, do we bring this packaging home or leave it on the shelf.

They say “Waste Not, Want Not”; I call it “Approaching Zero”. If I have everything I need, and I am happy and content, what more could I want? Nothing.

Thanks for reading!!





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