Saturday, 31 March 2007

Blowin' in the Wind

We just got back from our monthly run to the dump (for city folks, note that no one comes for your garbage when you live 'in the bush'.) As usual I come back discouraged and a bit sick because of the mess that is our local garbage disposal site. Plastic bags festoon the trees and bushes all around, and especially downwind, the paper recycle has a huge pile of soggy cardboard outside in the mud, there is a lot of stuff in the actual tip that should not be there and the recycle shed has been closed because no one is prepared to look after it.

It's the plastic bag part I mind the most. For the last year or so all of the bigger stores in our shopping town have contributed to a cloth bag campaign. The bags cost a dollar, are available to buy in most stores and hold a lot of stuff. They fold flat when not in use, are washable and light. A lot of people have adopted them with enthusiasm, but you'd never know it at our waste site. Part of the problem is bears -- they get into the tip when the dump is not open, tear open the green bags and rummage through for anything good. The smaller plastic bags all get ripped open and scattered and then they blow. After the bears have had a good rummage the crows arrive, and loosen any bags the bears might have missed. Some of the township waste sites have electric fencing to keep the bears out, but ours is almost full and due to be closed so this improvement has not been made. And the bags blow.

When we built the house I persuaded JG that I needed a cupboard in the kitchen for recycle and I have capacity to store cans and plastic for about a month. Glass has to go into the tip, as the local recycle business cannot find a market for it, but at least it is inert, so I don't mind throwing it in there. I have two big compost bins, and we burn the clean paper. That leaves uncompostable scraps and plastic wrap to ditch. The other big item is newspapers -- we take two dailies and three local weeklies, plus an enormous number of coloured advertising fliers -- but that gets recycled, thus using up my cardboard boxes to pack it in. And I confess to the fact that a lot of the uncompostable but edible scrap gets dumped back in the bush, thus making the local raccoons plump and happy. So we lug boxes of paper, usually two bins of recycle and one small bag of the rest.

The waste disposal site at a hamlet not far away still has a recycle centre. This is a lot of fun as books, baby clothes, small appliances and lots of other fascinating stuff is all sorted and stored in an old trailer where you can go and add and subtract. There is also a local habit of plonking good junk down at the end of the laneway so that neighbours and passers by can see it and take it away if they like it. JG is enthralled with a jar of goodies one of our neighbours has set out, but so far has not succumbed.

He is a real problem -- you do not want to let him lose at an auction because he bids on boxes of mixed goodies and then keeps it all. He has lumberjack tools, a complete welding outfit, hardwood plank storage, building equipment and supplies and tools, automotive tools, and more. At present we have three storage buildings (one with two annexes) and a garage and the only reason the garage is not stuffed is that we only finished building it in December. Give him time and the cars may be back outside again.

Although I am not, blush, blameless myself. I can't bear to get rid of books and the cabin that we built here before the full time house is at present housing my paperback collection, because the hardcover books take up all the bookcase space in this fairly large house. There are probably 200 books in the office, some of which show in the photo behind the bag, and more bookcases in the living room and bedroom and TV room downstairs. And I need more bookcases. So, while I complain about JG the packrat here, I would not dare complain to his face. 'What about all your books?', he would say. Maybe I had better let him investigate that jar!

1 comment:

  1. I always take big plastic bins to the grocery store. I usually have to tell the cashiers NOT to bag the groceries before putting them in the bin. Erg.

    That recycle/reuse program sounds fascinating.