i have been a green wanna-be for a long time. one day three years ago i put out one bag of trash – great accomplishment for the family of five that we were then. that was my last true green trash moment.
alas my success was not sustainable. not even after curb-side recycling came into effect one year ago. so i scraped for joy where i could get it. my tuesday song was ‘hooray hooray it’s garbage day!’
the black cowers under a net next to the blue pyramid
today was a true great moment in the green. today the volume of recycling more than quadrupled the volume of the the one black bag.
my trash triumph was the product of a much front-end effort and co-operation on the part of the house habitants. we have three boxes in the kitchen for recycling – beverages, containers, and paper-ish things. all six of us rinse (when necessary) and toss what’s been used in the appropriate box. two of my three children are responsible for putting them in the appropriate larger boxes downstairs in the storage room. my mother – a 72-year old consumer who essentially requires an environmental mitigation project of her own – puts her newspapers in a wicker basket.
it’s taken a long-time to get here, but not through lack of effort. i was depressed for two days last summer when i was out of blue bags, and the collectors took all the bags that were out as garbage (despite the big R sign!). i’ve driven miles and miles to bring the cardboard to someone who would use it. and i’ve recognized the correlation between the the things that come into the house and the things that go out.
i’ve learned much. like in the city of bradford, ON, you must pay if you want more than one bag of garbage collected per week. you buy a tag for $2 and put it on the bag. a friend told me that ten years ago, in BC, trash had to be sorted eight ways. i’ve also felt the shame of having my recycled beverage containers refused due to an unacceptable bottle (balsamic vinegar). i know it’s best to put the big black bag in the big black wheelie bin before adding bags of non-composting kitchen waste rather than removing the smaller bags from the bin to a trash bag. (ie, in the hot days of august i saw what maggots look like). i know how much more efficient it is space-wise to ‘tear down’ the boxes.
most valuable, though, is that which we all know but forget to practice. i’ve learned that making an easy front-end sorting situation for the recycling, and engaging the family to help makes recycling days holistically rewarding rather than an upward struggle that saw me sorting frantically on tuesday mornings, and viciously righteous about it all.
i’m happy to know that. and very happy that the recycling has won. so is the man who puts the black bags into the truck, and, most spectacularly, so is my mother. the one black bag was tossed before i could shoot!
the one black bag was tossed before i could shoot