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Waste not, want not.

This old fashioned little used saying seems more appropriate today than ever.  Anyone planning to live off-grid might wish to think about the embedded wisdom. 

If we define waste as ‘everything we emit that we do not want’, whether it be outside cabbage leaves or the heat from the back of the refrigerator, and if we define what we do not want as being ‘that which we have not yet found a use for’ then its possible to take a fresh look at how we live. 

Most electricity use ends up as heat. One of the larger consumers of electrical energy is the refrigerator, which is actually a heat pump. It pumps the thermal energy from inside the refrigerated space to the outside, which is usually its back. In winter, this heat could easily be used to provide some supplimenatry space heating, if the fridge is suitably located and installed. 

Most people think of waste as the ‘stuff we put in the garbage bins’. Off-grid living done properly should not require disposal of what we dont want, placed as a burden on others and usually buried in some nearby landfill.

The organic material can easily be converted into cooking gas. No more propane bottles to refil. Its curious but the amount of organic waste producer per day per small family living off grid is the more than enough to produce sufficient gas for the family’s cooking needs.  Its not expensive to design and build, and the investment is quickly returned on gas bottle refill savings.

It does not harm realise that what we discard as waste is not only a burden on the larger community but a potential source of something good. There is a difference between doing less bad’ and ‘doing more good’. Its better to learn to use what we think we do not want rather than produce less waste. 

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