Consumeless for a year

A journal of a year of consuming less and consuming sustainably

Questions and first dilemmas 27/12/2009

First, thanks to all of you for your encouraging reactions to our experiment and our blog! Many of you already raised a few interesting suggestions and questions, which we gladly take into consideration.

We’ve made a few changes to the rules based on the reactions we received. First, we’ve decided to make the ‘sweets and snacks’ rule a bit stricter. In essence, we don’t need sweets and snacks so we shouldn’t buy or eat them. Our initial rule was to only eat home-made sweets and snacks, but with that rule we would be able to buy  as many eggs and as much chocolate as we wanted to make chocolate mousse every day… On the other hand, if we have people over for dinner, we don’t want to be bad hosts and serve plain simple food only. So we changed the rules a bit. We can make sweets and deserts when we have guests (we do have to make them ourselves though). If we don’t have guests, in principle we don’t make sweets or snacks, unless we have all the ingredients in stock anyway (e.g. when we have a lot of apples, we would be able to make an apple pie if we had flour, butter and sugar as well). We’re not allowed to buy ingredients for sweets and snacks especially (unless we have guests).

A second change to the rules concerns general rule nr. 4. This rule used to say that we had to do research in order to find the cheapest option if we really needed to buy something. This was a little confusing and the rule seemed to be contradicting the third rule. The idea was, and we’ve changed the rule accordingly, to choose a product first, based on the general rule of sustainability, and then to spend some time doing research to find the cheapest place to buy it.

A couple of problems or dilemmas based on reactions we received remain:

  • Cancelling our internet subscription is not an option. Karin works at home one or two days a week and does need the internet for this. Driving back and forth to work on these days would be much less sustainable than cancelling the internet subscription.
  • It was suggested to stop using wifi and get wired again. We’re studying the feasibility of this in our house now.
  • We started taking the adapters of our laptop out of the power socket as soon as the battery was full. However, some people have suggested that this actually is not very good for the durability of the battery. But leaving the plugs in the socket all the time doesn’t seem the best option as well. What to do?

Please share your opinions on these matters with us!


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5 Responses to “Questions and first dilemmas”

  1. Kurt Driessens Says:

    Hi, some engineering input for you … 🙂

    According to thermodynamics, pulling the plug on your notebook as soon as it is charged will not help you save energy. Besides from wearing down your battery faster, there will probably also be some overhead in energy consumption for charging and discharging the battery as very few things in life are lossless. It might be even best to take the battery out when it is charged and you have the opportunity to plug in your computer.

    The only difference between having your machine plugged in or not is usually in the settings that the operating system uses (screen less bright, hard-disc put to sleep sooner, etc.) but these are things you should be able to change yourself.

    Maybe you should run the numbers about buying an atom-processor powered netbook or nettop?

    Good luck with the experiment!

    • Karin Says:

      Hi Kurt,

      Thanks for the advice! We also came across an atricle advicing to take the battery out, it even said to put it in the fridge! The only thing I don’t like about that is that you can’t easily unplug the laptop anymore (unless you put in the battery first, but that would be quite a hassle).

      If you have any other engineering input that would help us out in 2010, don’t hesitate to post it!!

      Cheers, Karin

  2. Danielle Says:

    Hoi Karin,
    wat betreft ingrediënten: als je veel appels over hebt kun je in plaats van appeltaart ook appelmoes maken. Daar heb je naast appels alleen wat kaneel en eventueel wat suiker voor nodig.

    Wat betreft het goedkoopste product vinden: bedenk wel dat er soms voor een goedkoper product ook minder betaald is aan de maker van het product. Zoals gewone eieren versus biologische, omdat kippenhouder veel minder investeert in een diervriendelijke omgeving kan hij zijn eieren spotgoedkoop aanbieden. Biologische eieren kosten meer omdat de boer investeert in een diervriendelijke omgeving en dus hier meer geld voor nodig heeft. Kortom, goedkoop is niet altijd het beste. Een Fair Trade keurmerk als Max Havelaar biedt uitkomst als het gaat om producten van verder weg.

    • Karin Says:

      Ha Danielle,

      Bedankt voor al je suggesties! Gelukkig houden wij enorm van appelmoes én hebben we veel rabarber in de tuin staan, wat we ook heerlijk vinden, dus dat komt helemaal goed!

      Wat de prijs betreft heb je natuurlijk helemaal gelijk. Daarom staan onze regels van alleen kopen wat we écht nodig hebben en duurzaamheid (inclusief biologisch, fair trade, diervriendelijk, etc.) boven de regel over de prijs!

      Groet, Karin

  3. Smith Says:

    Many thanks for posting this, It?s just what I used to be researching for on bing. I?d loads relatively hear opinions from an individual, slightly than a company internet page, that?s why I like blogs so significantly. Many thanks!

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