the rules

These were the rules that we officially lived under from July 1, 2008 to July 1, 2009.  These days we still abide by many of them, but we’ve scaled back a bit.

We had many discussions and debates about the rules, but here’s what we eventually hashed out.

The point is to have less stuff coming into our household and less stuff going out to the landfill.

The Rules:

  1. No buying stuff. (We cannot buy any material goods.)
  2. No producing garbage.  This means “avoid packaging”. (We cannot buy anything that comes in non-recyclable packaging and we must avoid excess packaging)
  3. Take responsibility for your waste. (We must take all waste produced personally by us home with us to recycle, compost, etc.)

The Garbage:

  • We will compost all food scraps
  • We will recycle all paper, glass, and plastic possible
  • We will keep all true garbage (destined for the landfill) in our individual garbage cans for the entire year. The person with the least garbage at the end of the year wins.

The Details:

  • No material goods means: no “things”. No clothing, electronics, make-up, household goods, etc
  • We can buy consumables (food, drink, medication, and products for basic hygiene) because they are not material goods BUT we must follow rule 2
  • We can pay for services and experiences (such as utilities, transportation, accommodation and entertainment) because they are not material goods
  • Hygiene refers to the basics only (ie. soap, toilet paper, deodorant, dental floss) and we must not have any of any type in the house before we buy more. This means we have to use up all those half bottles of shampoo before we buy more.
  • Recyclable: we have curbside pickup for high grade mixed paper, newspaper, aluminum cans and foil, plastics 1, 2, 4, 5
  • We can take soft plastics to a private recycling company if necessary, but it’s better to just avoid them
  • We cannot buy or accept single serving items (excess packaging).
  • We cannot use plastic shopping bags or bulk bags (excess packaging).
  • We cannot use takeout containers or disposable cups, plates, or cutlery (excess packaging)
  • We may eat takeout if we bring our own container.
  • We may not use paper towels.
  • We are free to use whatever we already have in the house.
  • We must follow “the rules” when buying gifts for others.
  • We must encourage others to follow “the rules” when giving (ie. No mooching)
  • We are allowed to pay for essential transportation related items but trading is prefered- ie. bicycle parts, gas
  • We are allowed to “rescue” quality, free, secondhand items because we are diverting them from the landfill.
  • For Grant, who is self-employed, certain non-consumables related to work are ok such as a DVD or an ink cartridge refill because these are essential for his business/livelihood.