Bin Night

We are encouraged these days to separate all the rubbish that we produce by putting it into three bins – one for organic waste, one for recyclables, and one for landfill material. The instructions for sorting are quite explicit and it’s not that hard to direct material properly. But the whole thing – plus the hectoring Facebook posts from faceless organisations – begs the question of who should be dealing with it and when.

I suspect that the corporations packaging food, textiles, paper goods, and all sorts of other consumer goods are the real culprits behind the waste explosion. They make the boxes, plastic wraps, moulded trays, containers, and whatever else is filling those bins every week. And they have instituted a business model that passes the buck and/or the parcel to us.

Take the business of soft drinks and beer. Once exclusively in glass containers – then changed to steel cans – then aluminium – then to PET bottles. And now we need to rinse out the bottles and segregate them and someone in the council has to try to squash them and recycle them back to somewhere – while the oil resources that are used to make the bottles get ever more scarce.

Go.Back.To.The.Glass.Bottle. Let it out as a container that delivers the fluid and then take it back as a container that can be refilled for the next delivery. Pay a pittance for this recovery, but pay something. You will be amazed at how swiftly the stream of returned bottles starts to flow. And how soon people will accept the idea of re-usable bottles.

Sell bread in paper wrappers. Sell veggies in them too – you always used to do so.

Sell fewer electronic coffee machines boxed in polystyrene – also sell fewer of everything else and make the stuff you do sell repairable. And be delighted with how people will accept the idea of using up something and then repairing it so they can use it some more. Sell spare parts, at an acceptable price.

The bottom line is always money with the corporations, so they are the people to whom hectoring government can apply for redress.

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A Happy Bin Of Kitchen Scraps To You

This is the BIG WEEK round our house.

The council has distributed the four rubbish containers that they want us to use and a colour-coded schedule for which bin goes out on the verge which week. We have been having nightly debates as to the exact things to put in each bin…not an easy decision when packers mix up the materials in their designs.

Case in point – the recyclable bin takes cardboard containers and some plastics. But the local recycle works man said at the dump tour that plastic spouts on the cardboard containers prevent them from being recycled. So we are trying to think of a way of safely cutting off the spout.

That doesn’t sound like much, but if you have ever seen some people wield a knife, you know that it is only a matter of time before they are going to be sitting in the ER with their hand wrapped in a red tea towel. My solution is to quietly confiscate said containers and hacksaw off the spouts in my workshop.

The other item of contention is used paper – the garbage man says there is a fine point at which it goes from compost to landfill and we are to judge that to a hair. The old document shredder may need to be searched out to give the compost digesters a fighting chance. I’m not sure if the tip will appreciate the first organic bin this week as we have had heavy colds for three weeks and the used tissues are starting to form revolutionary battalions in the bin.

The nicest point is the new kitchen caddy – it carries the pure food scraps to the organic bin by means of compostable organic plastic bags – which the council has promised to supply for a year. The caddy is actually a good thing as it gets smelly stuff out of the kitchen each day before it has time to build up pressure and as it is a bucket with a handle, there is less likelihood of the whole thing taking a dump on the hall carpet as you head for the bin.

Can you tell that we are retired here? But it is still more fun than Facebook at present. At least old orange peels and onion skins don’t try to scold you or change your politics.