Boone Is Practicing HABU!

By Arthur R. Boone, Center For Recycling Research and Total Recycling Associates

As NCRA’s longest-serving board member, it is my internally-generated task to always adhere to the highest standards of waste avoidance and zero discards to landfills.

This commitment requires near-tortuous attention to details and continuous practice of “highest and best use” [HABU], an almost ritualistic attention to personal discarding practices. As with the Jewish custom of “eating Kosher” that requires knowing the history of anything that you put in your mouth, living a HABU life requires knowing where this small piece of creation will end up when you are finished using it.

I have on my desk now five small items, 1) a rubber band, 2) a pebble, 3) a paper clip, 4) a blue Lego, and 5) a green piece of a plastic bottle cap. It would be feasible to put items 1 and 2 in the green bin, and items 3, 4, and 5 in the mixed recyclables bin as metals and rigid plastics. But practicing HABU means that item 1 goes in my rubber band container for reuse, the pebble goes in the tubes we use to create water courses in newly-planted trees, the paper clip goes in its desk-top container, the Lego gets aggregated with other Legos found on the street for delivery to the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse, and the plastic chip goes in my special bag of rigids going to a drop off center so as not to get lost in the 9% residue that the curbside program gives itself while allowing me to put plastics in my curbside bin and fails to mention its residue which goes on to the landfill.

HABU’s details are time-consuming, maybe not the best use of my time but seem to be required by the dictates of Zero Waste. Any comments? ARB