Zero Waste Methods For One Excess Chemical Product

This is written in answer to the challenge posed on the home page, of what Judy should do with a box of toxic chemicals called Hair Dye that she bought but decided not to use.

The first thing to notice is that all of the options presented to you in the challenge are focused on destruction. They sound like someone who is desperate to just get rid of a chemical and can think of nothing outside of effective destruction.

This is natural, because these are the social approaches that your media and society pump into your mind constantly. The sink, the toilet, the garbage can are the ways that everything is disposed of. The soil route is a desperate hope to find something a little better. And the Hazardous Waste route is what your society tells you is the proper way to handle all chemicals.  Nevertheless, these are all foolishness, no matter what your city, the environmentalists and the Environmental Protection Agency may say. None of them use common sense. None of them allow for reuse as the highest value.

So what should you do to reuse these chemicals that you never heard of before? Are you supposed to start a small laboratory in your house and learn about chemistry? Obviously not. More destruction.

Remember that Zero Waste never recommends reuse of the lowest, or even lower value. ZW demands reuse in the highest, most complex form. In this case, the highest form is as a hair dye. So let’s think first of someone else who could use the dye. You could ask all your friends or post it for sale on Craigslist. You might get lucky, but for a single, cheap commodity, probably not. But you aren’t thinking about the most likely way to simply place the box back in the hands of someone who will use it.

Who constantly sells hair dye to users? The supermarket where you bought it of course. Just take it back there and put it on the shelf where you found it. Forget the cost – that is the least of your concerns, though if you have the receipt you might process it as a return. This is simple, reliable and easy and what I would recommend.

Did you work it out on your own? Congratulations! You are a true Zero Waster!


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