Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Thinking More About Waste

I've been pretty busy this past week, so I haven't had time to think about the blog. So when I sat down tonight, I reread my last entry and it got me to thinking. Waste. Wow, we modern humans sure can generate a lot of it. But my own lifestyle is actually generating less and less, even no thanks to modern retailing.

While I've come to terms with food waste and enjoy a piece of self satisfaction knowing that I'm not sending edible things to the dump, there's surely more to waste than my kitchen and garden scraps. What about everything else? 

So much stuff ends up in landfills. It's mind boggling, at least to me it is. Looking at it realistically, I bet very little really has to be trashed if just a bit of effort (and money, of course) was put into it. The old saying is true .....one person's trash is another person's treasure. Even if broken or damaged, most stuff can be repurposed in some fashion. 

When I was a child I went to the local dump with my grandfather. He was looking for some metal gadgets while my eyes feasted on slightly damaged buckets, a pogo stick, a broken bike, that sort of thing. Back in those days society didn't generate so much trash and municipalities were willing to let people cart most of it away. No longer. The amount of trash is astronomical and far more toxic than back then. Plus there's the legal liability issue that petrifies the gizzards of today's officials. 

Out of curiosity I sat at our local "trash transfer station" the other day and was shooting the breeze with the station worker for about 10 minutes. At the same time I was watching what as being discarded into the trashbin, fantasizing what it could be repurposed for. I don't know what was in the black trash bags, but lots got tossed without being bagged. 

Chunks of concrete ...driveway fill?
Cardboard and paper ...for worm bins?
Recyclables ...into the recycling bins, of course
Carpeting ...for under houses to keep the dust down? 
Coolers ...for container gardening?
5 gallon buckets ...for carrying things, storage, container gardening?
Barrels and trash cans ...ditto
Windows, doors, screens ...for mini greenhouses?
Lumber ...for building projects, firewood? 
Clothing ...rags? 
Glass bottles ...recycle or craft projects? 
Plastic bottles ...recycle or pots to grow seedlings?
Plastic containers ...ditto
Metal ....recycling
Brush and tree trimmings ...chipped for mulch? 
Lawnmower and bicycle ...metal recycle or use on projects? 
Screenwindows ...mini garden screen boxes? 
Ladder ...bean trellis? 
Fencing ...for trellises?
Kitchen pots, pans, grills, crockpot, dinnerware ...people could use them
Old garden hoses ...wow, I could have put them to use even if they leaked, 

Tis a shame that people are not allowed to scavenge trash here. I bet a good portion of the stuff would be taken. 

Then there's all the green waste. Shame it's not chipped in my area. People have proven that they will use every scrap. 

So, do I generate waste? Of course. It's almost impossible not to. Things nowadays are sold with bits of plastic that can't be recycled.  Most stuff is plastic coated, has plastic parts, or comes shipped in plastic. 

1 comment:

  1. I think we're on the same page about garbage. I wish it were more difficult for people to throw away things that are usable - like in Wellesley, MA, I think there is a recycling area for personal items, a warehouse so that things that can be reused go there instead of to the dump. A friend just dumped a $500 leather jacket and other fully usable items because he is selling his house and suddenly has realized he has too many things and doesn't have a lot of time to clear entire rooms of items. It's a shame because he doesn't intend to throw away usable things, but he's stressed. I've noticed other people when moving have a stress reaction of simply taking everything to the dump that they cannot sell or give away, or not making the effort because they feel too much time pressure. I think it's the last frontier - even more than outer space - when civilization effectively handles its own garbage.

    I saw that you may be posting daily, so I'm debating about unsubscribing from the feed, just because I don't think I can handle that much email. LOL!

    BTW, an unrelated topic - the Hawaii Farmers Union United is having a convention in October on the Big Island - I don't know if you're a member, but you seem like a perfect fit, and if you don't want to attend groups or meetings, that's fine to, but the information they provide is pretty helpful to farmers and would-be farmers on things like becoming profitable as a farmer, and trying to develop nutrient recycling hubs. So, if you're not a member already, you may want to consider connecting with those folks.

    Best, Courtney - Maui Jungalow