When I read How Bad are Bananas? it became very clear that the best sort of environmentalism is not buying new stuff to improve efficiency but rather just buying less stuff. Don't chuck away the old dishwasher to buy a high efficiency new one but rather run everything you have into the ground and only buy something else when the old one can no longer be repaired. The CO2 footprint of making a complicated, large device like a dishwasher is actually a huge component (often greater than 50%) of it's total impact over its useful life. Keeping this in mind I decided to try to implement this throughout my life even in small ways. One result was hauling a large number of random jam jars out of my fridge. I don't know if everyone is like this, but I always end up with random jars of jams and sweets and such from Christmas, birthdays and other random events. Despite them usually being very good I almost always default to just getting regular jam out of the huge jar without thinking and the interesting jars of jams procreate somehow and end up slowly taking over.
All of these are random jars of stuff that I don't use but are in my fridge for one reason or another. I have decided that I simply must use all of them or determine that they truly are foul beyond redeeming; simply stashing them until they go bad is not an option. No more jam, mustard or sweet sauces will be purchased until all of the old have been put on something or other. Tonight I made spicy soft tacos with mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, lettuce, carrots and beef. What goes on spicy soft tacos? Mango chutney of course, since it is in my fridge and needs to go on something! Surprisingly I quite liked mango chutney on taco so at least that jar will be used quickly and without waste. Many of these others are just fancy jam and will go on toast for the next month or so; whether or not I will ever find a home for VH generic plum sauce is a bit of a rough question.
Of course it isn't just jam you can do this with. I also noted in the book that the energy used by having a hot shower is really quite huge (I do love a scorching hot shower) but after noting just how much hot water I have been flushing straight down the tubes I felt somewhat guilty. My solution was to just keep the shower water in the tub overnight and let the heat in the water warm the condo up; it has the nice side effect of dumping a ton of moisture into the air too which is good in wintertime. Now of course I have to deal with the issue of a dirty tub. Leaving the shower water in all night leaves the tub incredibly grimy and full of bits of hair and other detritus and requires me to wash it all the time... which uses more water and bathroom cleaner. Now I am left with some truly difficult (impossible?) choices such as deciding between conserving energy, conserving chemical usage or conserving both but living in filth. Such are the dilemmas of those who aspire to great environmentalism by eating fancy jams and refusing to send shower water down the drain in a timely fashion.