Ok, Ok I’ll take the garbage out!

On February 23rd, I completed 31 days of zero garbage. On March 16, I took my first small grocery bag of garbage to the curb. It was bits of plastic from cracker wrappers, ice cream, waffles, chips, band aids etc. Kyle didn’t make any of it, so it was all from me and house guests. I was hoping to do no more than a small garbage bag a month, but 3 weeks isn’t too bad either, especially considering that it was kind of on a garbage binge! You can see in the pictures there is also a cat food bag. TechniCal changed from a recyclable, compostable paper bag to plastic with no warning. I need to write them a letter and also may be change brands. Unfortunately, Gris Gris (see picture below) really likes TechniCal, but hopefully she can adapt.

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My old blog was called Sarah Cynthia Silvia Stout, after the Shel Silverstein poem. I’ve been thinking about that poem and I think it illustrates the idea our society seems to have that garbage just goes away to some magical place and disappears. The garbage takes over the world because Sarah refuses to take it to the curb. Why wouldn’t it take over the world once taken to the curb? It’s the same amount in land fill. We seem to think the earth just eats it and it’s gone. OK, so I admit I’m probably over analyzing a kid’s poem that is purely for entertainment, but the idea is not just in this poem. Early in January, we made an appearance on the Paul and Carole Mott Show. Paul Mott was concerned about making no garbage because the garbage men would be out of work, and at one point he said “the earth just eats it anyway” and he was 100% serious. This is an intelligent grown man, and he really thought the garbage eventually just goes away. Most of our garbage isn’t biodegradable so it has no chance of being “eaten by the earth” and even the garbage that is biodegradable doesn’t have much of a chance in landfill. Maybe I should have recommended that he go see the trash exhibit at the science centre. They show how landfills actually sort of mumify garbage, preserving it so it can’t biodegrade. An apple in a land fill will look basically the same in 100 years, where as is will decompose completely in just over a month in a composter, and about the same if you just buried it in the forest or left it for nature to deal with. I understand we can’t just leave everything out, but I have to admit, when I am traveling I bury my organic garbage by the side of the road rather than throwing it in a bin.

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7 Comments

Filed under cat, Uncategorized

7 responses to “Ok, Ok I’ll take the garbage out!

  1. sweetdumpling

    wow, had no idea thats what happened to garbage. i would love to see that exibit. you’re a better person than me, i just chuck my compostables out the window. (provided i’m in the country) my mama taught me how 🙂

  2. Wow! That’s awesome that your mom taught you that! See you on Myspace 🙂

  3. Rebecca in Montreal

    I have an issue with the garbage collection here in Montreal. They won’t take your garbage and actually FINE you if you don’t put the small grocery bag of garbage into a big black plastic bag. We only make a grocery bag of garbage a month, about, and we end up having to stockpile the garbage for long stretches of time before we can justify using a big black bag. And of course, all the other bags outside are stuffed every time, so there is no untying someone else’s big bag and squeezing ours in. I can’t believe compost is still considered garbage here! Even in Nova Scotia which is like the broke-est province ever (except maybe newfoundland…) has curbside composting and recycling. And PEI is a hallmark of amazing waste management in my opinion. Nowhere else have I seen true rivalry between neighbours over the correct sorting of recyclables, or three buckets, one white, one green, and one black, on the back of the toilet. Maybe central Canada is too big, so there is no incentive to do anything other than dump large amounts of trash “out of sight, out of mind”?

    Rebecca

  4. Rebecca
    Eeek, that does sound problematic. Have you tried contacting the city garbage collection about it? That’s awesome that you make a small grocery bag a month. Yaaaay! I was thinking about the city wide compost program and wondering if there was anyway you could make people with backyards have their own composters (which are better in the long run) and do the compost pick-up in apartments. It seems a little redundant to me that in Toronto, there is only pick-up at houses, when it’s people in apartments that need it more.

  5. Rebecca

    I wondered the same thing in Halifax when I lived there. They did collect from some apartments, but not highrises–only the street access ones.

    Personally I think that vermicomposting is a great soltion for apartment dwellers, especially since it can be implemented immediately and any appeals to the city will inevitably take time (and therefore lost compost). Education and available worms are needed in large amounts, though. We make composting spiels at almost every opportunity and the reactions are mixed. Some people seem excited and have no idea where to start, whereas others (mainly business owners so far) are resistant to the idea and get defensive.

    Our apartment building has a back yard, and my partner built a little compost encolsure out of found bricks back there, but it is a “stealth” compost because according to our landlord we are not allowed in the back yard, or to leave compost on the porch (so I’m pretty sure no compost in the back yard is allowed either). It’s just too ridiculous for us not to compost, so we do it anyway. All winter we’ve been dropping ours off at the Concordia University compost while ours is buried, but interestingly I’m not sure we’re exactly “allowed” to do that either, we just know where it is and it’s not locked, and we go at night so no one has ever stopped us…

    Just writing this out makes me a bit angry that we have to be pseudo-criminals just to compost! It’s really extra strange to me that people think they can stop others from composting (like the landlord) or why they would want to stop them.

    It’s the restaurants that kill me. Why, oh why do restaurants not compost??!! There should be tax shelters for those that do, some kind of real incentive to that it actually happens.

    It’s funny that you say that about the one bag of garbage, because since I wrote that I’ve been feeling a bit self-conscious about it. I mean, it’s pretty unnecessary, and mainly a result of things that we could have prevented, ie. not buying the tea that comes in those stupid little individual packets. I would say that a largish percentage of our compost is those little bags. I should realy be writing to Yogi tea and asking for Egyptian licorice in bulk…

    On the same note, your project has the added bonus of making me feel like less of a freak about garbage and composting (at present my partner and I are the only people we know who are so gung-ho about it, except his mom who lives on the wonderful PEI).

    I love it that you guys are getting such good publicity for such an important cause.

    Oooh, and may I suggest a piece on reusing would-be recyclables for indoor plants and gardens?

    Rebecca

  6. Rebecca

    I meant to say that a largish percentage of our GARBAGE is those little tea bag packets. Since they’re lined with plastic they can’t be composted.

  7. Hey Rebecca
    I get licorice spice tea loose and use a tea ball. It’s at a few different bulk stores here. Also, when I get home today, I’ll try to remember to write down the ingredients so if you wanted to make your own, you could.
    I may need your help to do a post like that. We have used straws and some other things as posts to hold plants up, but I’m not sure what else we could do.
    I’m sorry you have to guerilla compost but it’s awesome that you do it!

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