You may have gathered that I’m a technical person and I like things compact, clever, functional. I’m therefore willing to pay large amounts of money for small, clever little gadgets, like a decent mobile phone, or an electronic organiser. Yes, I spend hundreds on little devices that fit in the palm of my hand.
So as a first time homeowner, and beginner gardener, I’ve been a bit overwhelmed by…well…by stuff. By the sheer quantities of things that you can buy from places like B&Q.
For example, £200 will buy you a tiny media player with a bright colour screen and 32GB of solid-state storage.
But it will also buy you about 1200 litres of compost. That a LOT of compost.
It will buy you a large pallate of bricks!
If we go to the council recycling centre, it will buy you 200 bags of woodchips!
It will buy you vast quantities of aggregates, cement, gravel and so on.
It will buy many, many large pots of paint.
It’s a bit baffling to someone that’s never bought anything larger than a sofa!
And it troubles me somewhat – especially buying these things from somewhere like B&Q. I’m concerned by where these palletes of bricks and compost and aggregates come from. How far have they travelled? It must use an extraordinary about of lorry space carting this stuff around the country, and that can’t be good. Can it?
And what about all the building that’s going on? Houses, shops, offices. Thousands of big buildings going up all over the country. These must consume huge amounts of resources, not just raw materials but again, fuel to move them around and energy to get them out of the ground and process them.
Yes, in my 31st year, I’m only just starting to realise how big everything is!
When we were at the Centre for Alternative Energy at the end of our holiday, we read a lot about the “Embodied Energy“of buildings. Relative to the amount of energy a building uses over its lifetime this is quite small, but I begin to see how use of local resources in building can make a major impact on sustainability.
I, personally, will continue to be in awe at the sheer amount of “stuff” that I, as a homeowner, and we, as inhabitants of this planet, consume. But we should all be thinking about where that £3 bag of compost has come from and whether we could get it from a local source – or even make it ourselves (!!) rather than making a quick and easy trip to B&Q.