Saturday, April 7, 2012

A - Z Challenge: G

G is for Garbage.

Taking out the garbage bag to the wheelie bin this morning it occurred to me how our garbage habits have changed.  This is a fairly big bin and it used to always be full.  And not that many years ago, either.  A long weekend like this would mean a compacting exercise was in order because regular pick up service was delayed.  If we missed a week - whoo boy!

When I opened the lid I noticed there was only one other bag inside.  For the whole week.  Where did all of that garbage go?  We now have two composters.  The more fresh fruit and veg you eat the more composters you need.  And our garden is very happy with the leftovers. When I was a kid we always had a compost bin.  They were big homemade wooden boxes and my Dad was always turning the stuff over. 

We recycle all our paper, most plastic and our glass and tins.  And all the newspapers - they have their own bag.  I remember my Dad had a burn barrel out in the back yard.  We lived in a town - small but definitely not rural countryside.  And every week he would burn whatever was burnable.  Clean stuff got burned in the fireplace, too.  I'm still trying to remember what happened to newspapers.  They were saved to start fires, I know that.  And I have a vague memory of them being bundled up and collected by someone. 

Anything that was too big to burn  - or not burnable at all - went to the dump.  A wonderful place that I loved to go to with my dad.  Sure it didn't smell pretty but what was exciting to me was the stuff lined up at the entrance.  There were people who had the right to salvage and sell things that were discarded.  I thought this was a great thing.  We still have to truck no longer usable items to the transfer station but there is no salvaging allowed.  Now we live in the big city and the theory is that we can separate and recycle almost everything.  What gets dumped is no longer worthy of anyone's attention. 

All our wire coat hangers  used to be collected by Cubs and Scouts who made a bit of money selling them to recyclers.  They also collected all our bottles and cans for their deposits.  But big business has discovered that all these things make money.  And there are folks who comb the streets balancing their bulging bags full of cans and plastic bottles over their bicycles.  What's sad is that people think it's OK to just toss this garbage on the roadside or in someone's yard.  And it's definitely too bad that take-out coffee cups have no deposit.  They're all over the place.

Garbage has changed.  Some people's behavior has changed.  It's amazing what a little financial incentive can do.   Obviously, respect for our own environment isn't enough to get us all reducing, reusing and recycling.  We're still working on improving.


EmptyNester said...

You're right, garbage has changed what with the recycling and composting we do. But the biggest effect on our garbage was going from 6 to 2 people. LOL

Kim said...

We had a burn barrel in the backyard when I was young. And up to about 5 years ago we had no garbage rules. Every week we put out 3-4 black bags - full! Now we have a recycle bin and a compost bin collected every 2 weeks. I rarely have a full black garbage bag after 2 weeks. It is amazing the impact you can have on landfills when you try.

Rudee said...

I don't compost, but I should. I'm sure that would cut way back on our trash, too. I do recycle and always have at least one full bin and sometimes, two. My new neighbor doesn't do anything special with his trash. I always see his returnable beer bottles outside (ten cents a bottle in Michigan). Don't think I won't be on the lookout to make 2 or 3 dollars a week. It's free money!

Ginny said...

I couldn't imagine where your post was going when I saw this picture of your dumpster. But very often do your trash pickup men come, once a week? If we miss a week, it is BAD!! We have to drive across town to the recycle place to dump our plastic and newspapers. It is a pain to keep it all till we can go, then make the trip and unload it. But it is the right thing to do, and our dumpster never gets too full now. Yours looks exactly like ours!!

Sue H said...

We have three wheelie bins for different items of garbage/recycling - amazingly, it's the cardboard/paper/tin/glass one that fills up so quickly!

I wish manufacturers could be fined for producing unnecessary wrappings on their products! :-/

Cathy Olliffe-Webster said...

The change in how we handle our garbage is definitely a good thing but sometimes it's too complicated for my wee pea brain to handle! I think I need to buy a goat.

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

I remember the burn barrel, too. Times and trash have certainly changed. One thing that hasn't is my total disdain for litterbugs!!

Maria said...

When I was 4 we had a refugee family live with us for a bit. One of the boys had a paper route, and he also used to collect and bundle the old papers. Kinda makes sense that the newspaper producers were also the recyclers.

Joanna said...

You've inspired me to start composting again. We're big consumers of fruits and veggies and it does fill up our garbage can. I know my garden would benefit from some home made compost.

Rob-bear said...

When we had our home, we were avid composters. We cannot do that in our apartment building. But we still recycle as much of other things as we can.

I don't know if there is any less garbage today than there was before. I think we have a lot more, actually. But we do handle it differently. Or at least some of us do.

Rachel Cotterill said...

We do a lot of recycling & composting, too, so we don't create much rubbish. I quite often forget to put the bag out, so in practice ours gets collected every 3-4 weeks when I remember :)

Mimi said...

It is amazing what a little financial incentive can do!
Our habits here have changed too, I often remind myself of that when I see how much we recycle now. Pity we don't have a deposit on bottles here, we just have bottle banks where they're recycled rather than reused.
I love composting! It feels so good to know that all the fruit and veg peels will be returned to the earth.
Do you also have a brown bin for cooked food? We do, and that's great too.Your bin is exactly the same as ours!


Blog Widget by LinkWithin