Interesting how something really big has to happen before anybody starts thinking about their impact on the environment. Unfortunately, it’s inevitably the people who are already aware of it who do something about it, whereas those who should take cognisance of the negative effect their wasteful ways … do not much else but complain.
During the recent nationwide municipal strike, bins began lining suburban streets, and in most cases were overflowing. Daily, while the strike continued, more and more refuse joined the spillage. But how many of the thousands of Northern Suburbs complainants actually did something about it? It’s all too easy just to consume, consume, consume, and throw away, throw away – not even giving a second thought to how this one way flow of waste could be minimised. Plastic, tins, paper, garden clippings and dog poo all go into the same bin. After all, why should they bother doing anything about it? They pay their rates and taxes, so it’s Someone Else’s Problem. And no, WE’re not in the scheme where they have different coloured bins for different things, so it’s just TOO much hassle to sort it out. Even to the extent that rather than afford the guys who troll the streets going through bins to get reusables from THEIR bins, they deliberately put the stuff that could be recycled with contaminants, rendering it completely unusable – “because those guys don’t have the right to go through my bin…”
I’m fairly glad to say that this problem just made our little household more aware of the Reuse, Reduce and Recycle ethos. Although our property is not that large (the Hurst is known for it’s ‘villagey’ quality, hence small space!), we have a mini-woodland area of mainly endemic trees so birds can come and visit happily, a fairly successful veggie patch, a compost heap, a chicken tractor and a worm bin. I know what goes into the compost I use to feed my vegetables, the chickens clean up any pests and aerate the soil with their digging for grubs, any bad worms in the earthworm bin are pulled up by putting in stale bread soaked in milk, and then fed to the chickens. There’s a whole cyclical thing going on here. Paper gets recycled through Mondi, plastic containers and bottles are separated and put into a bag for the ‘scavengers’ – along with any leftover food that’s still good, so they don’t have to rummage – you name it, we’re finding a way to deal with it responsibly! And that goes for not buying things in too much packaging… (Hence, during the strike, our bin was pretty much empty – although the moment we put it out, our really caring and considerate neighbours decided to fill ours up with their junk….)
I may sound like an old fuddy duddy, but although we may live a vaguely ‘boho-chic’ life in the ‘burbs, we’re supposed to be the people to create an awareness. It actually frightens me how completely uncaring so many Upwardly Mobile people are towards not only the environment, but those around them. So many will shop at the stores that are ‘green’, but don’t do anything green at home. Electricity outages? Well, we’re okay, we have a generator. Of course, the more conscious among us have already gone solar and for UPS storage – quiet and clean – kinder to the neighbours too!
Even Pikitup are totally proactive. When I’m not using my own homemade compost, I buy their brand, which they make from all the garden refuse dumped by people at their recycling posts. All of this is so easy. It may take a couple of minutes to do, but in the long run, it’ll save you hours of angst when there’s nowhere to dump your mounds of trash…
Wherever in the world you are, I do hope that the municipalities/neighbourhood/people surrounding you are making an effort – and that you are too!