Little changes

I’ve been getting more environmentally conscious with age. Damned if I know exactly why. I’m limited in exactly how far I can take it, though, cos I’m on disability allowance and have some food intolerances. I’m allergic to soya, but in spite of this, I’ve tried vegetarian diets before, always fairly responsible, and the last time I did, it was probably the worst condition I had been in trying a vegetarian diet –I was tied all the time, and barely able to hold a thought, and I take my vitamins and all. On the good side, any non-evangelising veg*n will sdmit that it’s not for everyone, 100%, and anyway, it’s not like I’m one of those people who feels compelled to eat meat with every meal (I don’t have that kind of money, for starters, and even if I did, the fact that I know people who insist on meat with every meal is just ridiculous), and on average, I have one to two, sometimes even three meat-free days a week.

The industry of factory farming is just inefficient use of land, but even though I’m in a position where I pretty much have to make use of it, there are better ways of doing that than just caving in to it from all sides.

I bring this up now because I recently decided to switch cat litter. It may not sound like a big deal, but Blue Buffalo, the brand that makes the all-natural kibble I feed my little cat-lumps (it’s also an affordable brand, too), recently started making a cat litter. Now, I prefer the clumping cat litters, cos even on testosterone, I tend to be sensitive to smells, and the ability to scoop out the urine is a wonderful invention. I’ve tried other compostable cat litters before, and flushable, but in all honesty, those were half-hearted efforts (I neither have a backyard compost bin nor attempted to take the scooped clumps to a community composting site), and I ended up feeling kind of vindicated by the fact that the litters sucked.

Yesterday’s News is made from old newspapers, is non-clumping, and the consistency is like twigs; it seems like an all-natural good idea, at first, but the cats at the time (Bob and Vermin, before they died last winter) were more interested in playing with the twigs than doing their business in it, which is a problem.

There was another brand, I forget the name, also made of old newspaper, promised to be scoopable, promised to be flushable, but so soft in consistency that the cats sunk down past their ankles and gave this look, as if looking for Ashton Kutcher and the hidden cameras. Obviously not a hit, either.

So far, this Blue Buffalo walnut-based scoopable litter seems to live up to promises, and it’s lightweight, to boot (a plus to someone like myself, who can’t really do heavy loads cos of carpel tunnel syndrome). The source of material is revewable, the odour control isn’t as good as Fresh Step, but about as good as Tidy Cats and without smelling like dryer sheets. The cats seem OK with it, too. By weight, it costs more, but by volume, it’s only a little bit more expensive. Best of all, it’s compostable.

This is important.

The city of Lansing made a relatively “minor” change to their recycling system, recently. See, before, everything went into these small green bins, a little larger than an apple crate. All recycling went in there, with no need to separate things out. Now, I know you’re probably thinking that I’m going to tell you that now Lansing citizens have to divide their recycling, but actually it’s kind of the opposite problem. Now we have these huge recycling barrels –and I mean HUGE. I can definitely put it on its side and crawl in, sit up, and lay down –yeah, I’m only 4’11.5″, but it’s still the principle of the thing. These new barrels are just under twice the size of the garbage barrels.

It’s kind of highlighted the fact that up to half of the garbage barrel’s contents on any given week is cat waste. I got a compost bin for the house this last summer, and I’ve been trying to save up for a rain barrel, but it’s these little things that add up. It’s never too late to reduce what one send to the landfills, or make the changes to the ways we eat, but what matters is that we do them as we can –maybe you can’t in this lifetime, it happens, but if you can, there’s no real reason not to and every reason to do. If you can’t spend the extra couple bucks for Blue Buffalo cat litter, maybe you can get Yesterday’s News, or that flushable stuff, and your cat won’t mind. Maybe you can go vegetarian or vegan full-time rather than half the time (if you can, it’s MUCH cheaper than eating meat). Maybe your apartment doesn’t have a compost pile, but the city does. Maybe you have a few hours a week free to take in your recycling, cos your building doesn’t have a separate bin. What’s important is that you make the little changes as you can.

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