Sunday, 22 March 2009

Is 'Reduce' the hardest R?

Reduce, reuse, recycle, the 3 Rs. How well we know them. Most school children can recite them by heart. Now, I can recycle, God knows I can. Every fortnight I put out two bags, full to bursting, for the recycling lorry.

I've recently recovered from a cold. I swore I'd never again take the use of both nostrils for granted. But a week later I don't think twice about it. Recycling came late to Denbighshire (don't laugh Surrey), it's only a few months since we've been able to put out huge bags of plastic, cardboard and glass. But now I don't think twice about it. A month ago it was my daughter's birthday, and as I was stomping on the 10th mound of cardboard packaging from a battery-filled plastic import to squeeze it into another blue bag it occurred to me, did we always put this much refuse out? Where does it all go? And how are we going to stop consuming so much?

So I can recycle. I can reuse to an extent. I haven't bought new socks for ages. But can I reduce? Well this is harder. Kids' toys, books, the latest gadget, this is all too desirable. And there's too much packaging. But is a change on the way? Easter is coming and egg manufacturers are starting to respond to our concerns. Computer manufacturers are starting to tout products with fewer toxins and greater recyclability. So maybe less is the new more. If the market responds to our desires, the trick will be to desire fewer, better things. In smaller boxes.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

New 12v circuit for the eco-shed!

Last week I added a new 12 volt circuit to the eco-shed. The idea is that this can be used charge mobile phones and battery chargers etc. without switching on the inverter. The inverter draws power itself to raise the voltage to 240 volts, so it seemed a shame to then use a mobile phone's transformer to take it back down to something like 5 volts again. So I bought a 12 volt adapter, such as you might get for a car for charging 2 items from a 12 volt socket, cut off the bit you plug in, wired it to a 1-way light switch and ran a 2-core cable to the battery. Great!

The bad news? My mobile car phone charger is for an older model of phone and doesn't charge my phone. And the universal adapter I bought to solve that problem doesn't seem to work either. What have I done wrong?? Well I would check but I accidentally left my multimeter on & the battery went flat. And it's a weird battery too, a 12v 23 amp one, so I'll have to order a new one before I find out. Drat!