Growth and waste

Someone told me about China and the recycling industry.

He described to me vast recycling plants, like small cities a few miles outside a huge Chinese metropolis neither of us had heard of; he explained about the tight regulations against pollution, the awesome new machinery, and the massive workforce. Then he told a story how a local councillor in Portsmouth had complained to his firm about the carbon footprint made by shipping off trillions of tons of waste to China for recycling: his reply was that Britain imports trillians of tons of ‘goods’ from China, in containers, in the first place. These could either be sent back empty, or filled. I thought about those little plastic toys you get in Christmas crackers. Using the very container they came in, you send them back to China, where they are melted down and made into… and so on…  and there is China’s economic growth.

Since May, a neighbour’s rose bush has grown with grotesque speed to become quite an ungainly and ugly intrusion into our garden. I wondered at its vitality! Then, (permission granted) I chopped it and put it in the garden-waste bin for disposal (my cost-effort). I asked myself, what if I had chopped it earlier? Would there have been less waste? Or if I had chopped a bit off every day?  Is there an optimum time and manner to chop it, for minimum growth?

Recession? Austerity-cuts? There’s the market-gardener and the state-gardener; but aren’t growth and production inevitable?


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