Three years ago when I took over the ravages of my father’s financial burdens and the family finances. I made very harsh changes that received my family spewing that I was a control freak. Well, one of these things was the fact we would go to the grocery store and buy gallon jugs of spring water for drinking and cooking purposes. Here is the dilemma you know how the more weight you have on a vehicle you consumer more fuel. Ever week my parents would go to the grocery store buy twelve gallons of spring water. The empty jugs go to recycling and every week a large collection truck would pick up our recycling. I put an end to this family complained I was ending their health as spring water is better for you than city tap water. I beg to differ there is an alternate solution.
What I did was calculate that the cost of buying those gallon jugs of water per year plus tax equals $715. Then the rate travel for this necessity of our house hold really costs us, such as gas to the store, weight coming back and any excess impulse purchases mostly stuff we really don’t need per year plus taxes equals $1,200. ” Now this is slightly more than the feedthepig.org $3 a day bottle water habit ad; the $3 dollar a day times, 365 days a year time, 6% interest time, the 10 years gives you $14,000 in your pocket.” There is something else they did not touch base on with that advertisement, that I did when I reviewed our family finances. There was even more waste dollars to the environment, government resources, time investment and more that of our family’s money. I saw time wasted each week to get one thing and ended up buying more stuff not to mention the gas used to go there. I also say the recycling costs and the impact it also had to our environment. Think about a big truck running on fuel going up and down the street once a week to pick up our recycling. Then it was hauled to a facility to be sorted, shredded and melted down all consuming resources all of which costing money! That recycling program funded by our tax dollars. Yes then there is payroll of the people who did these jobs but were they being applied to these jobs well.
Here was my plan that I fought with my family to curb our expenses and impact on the environment. I bought a Brita Water Filter Pitcher and filters all from Costco $60 with saver coupon. Why cause we got the bulk of multiple filters that lasted a year for drinking and cooking water. It was one trip to the Costco warehouse that’s it. Then we bought the individual personal travel water filter mugs to use water public water fountains with the multi-pack replacement filters ran us about $40 instead of the $12 “Deer Park” 36 multi-pack of water we got at Costco once a month. This further reduced our trips to the warehouse from every two weeks and excess spending to every other month. I’ve worked it out even further with other strategic shopping tactics that my family hated as we went from shopping almost everyday to once a month for necessities.
Where did I get the idea for this? It all came from old journals on the following; frontier, colonial, and old means of living. I also utilized old school survivalist tactics of olden days crossing our country via wagon trains. These folks had to survive working smarter as well as hard. The financial impact reduced our budget spending from $6,000 per month down to $1,200 in under a year. It’s still a work in progress as the monthly spending is down to $800 per month. The social impact I now have more free time. I’m not constantly going shopping every time I turn around. I feel so much more relaxed these days as I spend less time in checkout lines or at traffic lights. The environmental impact I am using less fuel and wear-n-tear on the old car and buy less unnecessary consumer goods. The health impact is since I’m less stressed I tend to eat less junk food all those tempting treats in check out lines. Yes I dropped 46 Ibs in six months time. The mental impact I’m more organized and plan more this provides a sense of security. The overall picture emotionally I’m calmer, physically healthier and financially more in control.
The question is can my personal efforts be utilized in local, state and federal government practices to save our economic future? I think it can but it has one problem that problem is group participation. Why? Cause it requires an ugly word “EFFORT” no one wants to hear the word you have to place your effort. Here is my ugly effort plan to utilize my local governments recycling program more efficiently. It may even apply to your local community.
If a survey of area based off of known recycling collection data was applied to strategically place large recycling collection containers in parking lots of your grocer, shopping and club warehouses. We placed these collections at places most frequented by our shopping habits to drop off our recycling before we buy more consumer goods. Then on have the recycle trucks pick up on a routine schedule based on service need in these areas are not frequented around the hours 3 am ‘” 6 am in the morning. Then this free budgeting to expand on other recycling services such as residential mulching, community cleanup efforts and municipal infrastructure improvements. This can enable an increase community property value and deter crime as more antithetic appearance is generated in local municipal communities.
Here is the social impact: some households generate more recycling and reduces your storage needs, the hours of pickup enables traffic free from large slower moving commercial vehicles and it reduce/restrict commercial vehicles from your neighborhood.
Here is the financial impact: less fuel use going into every house as you use central pickup stations, less fuel as the pick up time is during low traffic time and the need for fewer service vehicles to cover fewer pickup stations.
Here is environmental impact: less fuel means less resources used, fewer vehicles means less omissions, and with less frequent time use means fewer traffic congestion decreasing overall community fuel use.
Here is the government impact: less vital resources spent on fuel consumption, less investment on equipment and efficient cost effective service to the community
Here is the safety impact: with fewer hours during higher volume traffic conditions this decreases traffic accidents and safety hazards. During inclement weather these vehicles can be adapted to work with road maintenance such as mounting a snowplow on them and offer another set of eyes on road accessibility to report whether school buses should run at an early enough time to gauge and report school closings.
Where the savings should go programs that encourage composting of residential property and environment safety. Several times a year a collections container (dumpsters) is placed in various residential areas only for short duration to collect garden and yard waste such as spring, fall and after storm cleanups. This is then composted for residential and small independent local landscaping/lawn/nursery businesses to use. Free for residents and self-employed businesses or lower than commercial rate for approved criteria small businesses. Yes, our effort can beautify our community and help business maybe return our property values.
I could also, see some of these workers apply efforts to community vegetable gardens (safe food programs) from our composting efforts and maybe expansion of an old commercial cannery that the local government took over a couple of years back in my area. I don’t know what happened to that cannery (some where in Eastern Henrico) but I can see civic gardening and the cannery working together to support our local food bank with wholesome foods vital nutrition. This is important dieticians have proven that in low income areas of the world poor nutrition leads to poor mental and physical development that leads to poor education performance, behavioral problems and that leads to high crime. A chain reaction that we can prevent here in the and elsewhere as I expect govenment programs will be slashed soon or under close restraints. Yes, our effort can feed people in need and provide a better community.
Several times a year non-recyclable clean up collections for household items should be placed twice a year and monitored at specific hubs in commercial areas for paint, cleaners, solvents and etc. This ensures that we control the volume of hazards going into landfills. These hubs should be monitored to enable that if an items is of great hazard can be immediately contained for proper disposal without forcing consequence to community residents trying to dispose of them. There are lots of harmful items sitting in garages, basements and sheds that once deemed safe today poses difficulty for residents to properly remove from their communities due to vast cost individuals can’t afford. I’m talking about the items once sold some 40 year ago as safe to be used in the home that today as these folks are older and on fixed incomes can’t afford to dispose and cost us more health hazards as they sit in our neighborhoods not properly contained. (Pesticides, chemical solvents, commercial drain cleaners and etc.) Yes, our effort can make our neighborhoods safer and no fear of hidden deadly toxins that can poison us.
It’s not that local municipals are doing a bad job or enough. It’s more of a matter we and me are not doing enough to allow them to do a better job. The fact I’ve spent years throwing out yard waste with my consumer trash not a good thing. If we all placed effort maybe we can get more out of our local and federal governments in providing better services. I know I expect too much from this one idea but It’s how I think and do things. If I put in my effort I want to see multiple results, yes I’m “A kill two birds with a stone person, this submission the whole flock.” I can see a recycling program save money on small business operations the cost of maintaining my personal property. Yes, I can see not getting stuck behind a large municipal truck in traffic during my work commute. I can also see this declining insurance costs to our community as public safety is improved. Effort must be planned very well before sweating on something that shows little results and I’m will to bead heavy for bigger and more positive changes. Unfortunately, I can’t do it alone cause not everyone wants to be burden with the effort. A shame really cause sometimes a little effort goes a long way! It will take effort to get the economic ball rolling again in my little corner of the country can this information help yours?