Environmentally minded folks will go to great lengths to live sustainable lives. Sometimes, they go too far. Here are five eco-trends that won't be going mainstream anytime soon.
1. City chickens—Buying organic eggs at Whole Foods isn't enough for some city dwellers. To eliminate the carbon emitted during transportation, and the chance that a single feather on their chicken might have been harmed in the production of their eggs, some urbanites have taken to building chicken coops in the backyards of their rowhouses and stocking them with egg-layers. Some city ordinances permit this, while others don't. Though chickens are relatively easy to care for, they don't make for much of a pet. And what would the neighbors think?
2. The D-I-Y trash chair—Recycled furniture is good, but furniture made out of our own recyclables—well, just look here for yourself. This chair is a vinyl shell that you can fill with anything you have in excess—magazines, bottles, cans, old toys, whatever you'd like. But since the bag is clear, the chair made of trash looks like, well, a big pile of trash. Full of maybe-pointy things that you're supposed to sit on. No thanks.
3. Breast milk in ice cream (or in anything else we eat, for that matter)—PETA made waves this week and grossed us all out when it sent a letter to Ben and Jerry's founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield urging them to use human breast milk rather than cow's milk in their ice cream. Ben and Jerry, of course, respectfully declined. One restaurant in Switzerland actually has used human breast milk in its dishes, which is where PETA got the idea. Though fewer cows may mean less greenhouse gas, it's pretty safe to say that even the most eco-friendly gastronomes would pass on this one.
4. Yurts—Looking to live in a zero-impact dwelling?. A number of books have been written recently praising the yurt—the traditional Central Asian dwelling—as a truly eco-friendly choice. You can even order a luxury yurt. Yurts are cheap, warm, and more durable than tents. Unlike mobile homes, they require no gas. But even in a housing crisis, most people don't want to feel like they are camping all year round.
5. Freeganism—There's no such thing as a free lunch--except to freegans, who regularly steal the ingredients for theirs out of the dumpsters behind grocery stores. Freegans argue that huge amounts of unspoiled food go to waste each day. They try to combat our disposable culture by scrounging for free groceries, furniture, and clothing. Of all the trends, this one has the largest following, or at least gets the most media attention. Still, the idea of dumpster diving is unappealing to most, even if the food is packaged, clean, and unspoiled. The good news is that you don't have to dig in the trash to be a freegan. Here are four tips for freeganism that keep you far away from the dumpster.