What a load of rubbish
When I was a lad, we didn’t have much rubbish.
All our waste went one of several routes.
Leftover food went into the dog. Anything combustible went on the bonfire. Anything rottable [I can’t bear that word biodegradable – it reminds me of that fucking nancy Duncan Stewart] went on the compost heap. Milk bottles were left out for the milkman to take back. After that, there wasn’t much left. There would be the odd tin can or jam jar. A lot of those would be washed and used for cleaning paintbrushes or storing nails. The paltry pile that remained would go in the bin.
The bin men used to arrive in a small lorry with a sort of semi-cylindrical back. Doors used to slide up on the side and they would merrily chuck the bin contents in. There was none of your compressor stuff or hydraulics or anything like that. They didn’t need to compact the rubbish because there wasn’t that much.
The real ones were a bit bigger [and dirtier].
Another regular visitor to the road was the Pig Lady [Mary Harney’s mother?]. She was a large woman dressed in dirty grey and dirty blue who would be slumped up on her horse drawn cart and would slowly amble up the road. The horse had a bell around his neck so we could all hear her coming. Anyone who didn’t have a dog would bring out their buckets of leftover food and would chuck it in the cart for the pigs.
Nowadays, it’s all different.
For a start, we are weighed down with packaging that we don’t need. Tons of cellophane, boxes, cardboard, plastic, plastic and yet more plastic. You can’t buy a simple screw without getting a moxy load of plastic and cardboard to go with it. Nothing is returnable any more. Those of you who are foolish enough to abide by the non-bonfire law must be in real trouble. We now throw out about ten times more than we used to in the Old Days.
We have three bins. A black one and two green ones. One of the green ones is for paper and cardboard and the like, and the other is for glass. But when you think about it, you don’t buy much glass these days? Maybe the odd jam jar or bottle of olive oil but everything else comes in fucking plastic. Except of course for booze. Wine and spirits still come in glass bottles so that must be what the extra green bin is for.
I have never put out my glass bin. When I am finished drinking my spirits or my stout, I just hand the glass back to the barman to be refilled.
They call around every few weeks to collect the glass bins. You can tell it’s glass bin day by the racket which can be heard from about a mile away.
And I will tell you one thing.
There are a hell of a lot of serious alcoholics in my area.
Fear not, as our ongoing global economic collapse progresses, fueled by a lack of, well, fuel really, such things as plastic will become a mere memory. We’ll have a very different situation with regard to consumables and the bin trucks won’t run as there won’t be anything to make them go. Rubbish will become a thing of the past and the pig woman will return (perhaps it will be Harney’s new career, given the family connection).
When you think about it, if you remove plastic from the equation, there is precious little left? Roll on the days!
I dont know why we bother recycling to be honest. We live on the border of two borough councils who have different policies on what they will recycle which means we have to do two separate recycling runs to two centres. One has now announced they will stop recycling cardboard as it is not economically viable for them. I just dont get how it is viable for one council and not the one two miles away. I thought all our stuff was shipped overseas for recycling anyway!
We give all our compostible stuff to our wurrums. The lovely liquid fertiliser never makes it to the flower beds though as the dog seems to lap it up first as the stuff flows from the tap in the wormery. Would you be tempted by a pint of that black stuff Grandad?
Meanwhile I plan to work on my trapping and hunting skills. Want any help on the tourist front? I’ll only be using primitive weapons so I shouldn’t have much impact on your headcount.
Ever since the bin-charges were first mentioned in this country I’ve always advocated that it ought to be a tax on the manufacturers of all this unnecessary crap rather than the householder. What better way to tackle the problem? -At it’s source.
I won’t list the benefits because they’re too obvious.
Although the milkman will probably never return, it should be possible to set up a similar system. When your bottles are empty, you just go to to the supermarket and refill from a large tankcontainerdistributing system. Then you would only have to replace the bottle when they break. That will save a huge piles of Tetrapak containers.
And what about Mars and Snickers? Now you can buy so-called “party-bags”. A plastic container which holds a zillion of microscopic sized chocolate goodies which are individually wrapped in some alien plastic/metal combination. What’s wrong with 1 big Mars? It’s not like I’ll just be satisfied with one of those tiny snacks.
While I am ranting; have you ever been to the meat section in a supermarket? You can buy one, yes I mean ONE, hamburger. That is packaged in the same amount of plastic crap as 10 hamburgers. What were they thinking? People have fridges these days so they can store the meat they don’t need right away. And it only makes it more expensive. The use more packaging>I am going to pay for that. They use so much packaging the government issues a “packaging tax”>guess who is going to pay for that?
I’m done….. well not really, but I have to get back to work.
A friend of mine in Germany has a local off license that you can take your bottles back to for refilling. They get their beer in big plastic crates (like the ones the milkmen used to use) and they just put the empties back in the crate and take it back to the shop when they’re done. It’s a great system.
If I were ever to go on Room 101, plastic wrappings would be the first on my list of things to put in there. The first thing I do when I get home from the supermarket is take all my vegetables out of the plastic and put them loose in the fridge because they keep better. Why in the world does anyone think it’s a good idea to wrap peppers in cellophane?
There is fierce confusion as to what is supposed to be recyclable here. I haven’t a clue what is allowed and what isn’t so I just fuck everything in and let them sort it. It more than likely just ends up in landfill in China or India anyway.
As for the wrapping in supermarkets – it’s a joke. The vacuum packed are the worst – “peel here” always breaks off, and I end up hacking it with scissors.
I wonder what would happen if I vacuum packed my wheelie bin and left it out for collection?
Apparently, in my neck of the woods, the ‘powers that be’ (trash-wise that is) have discovered an economical way to sort out all the recyclables from one big pile as they now have us dumping all things “recyclable” into one large metal container at the town dump. So either they sort this crap out somewhere else or they’re lying to us and burying it at one of the construction sites for one of the new hospital expansions. Our health care system built upon the foundation of our trash. It fits in some strange and annoying way.
BTW, I upgrade my desktop’s sound system from the anemic 2-way that came with the thing to a more robust 3-way from Tiger Direct and the pieces/parts came packed not with the typical Styrofoam packing but with that molded, gray cardboard stuff made out of old used and recycled toilet paper or the like. I suppose it’s a chnage for the better?
As so often, I fully agree with you. There is way too much waste around these days, and most of it is unnecessary packaging which we did not have in the past.
When I was a child, we (my family) produced most of our food ourselves, and there were very few items we needed to buy in shops. And when we did go shopping, things were available in a lose way. No matter if it was fruit & vegetables, rice or hardware items like nails and screws, one could buy them one by one, as many as one needed. Even until a couple of years ago there was an ironmonger here in town who sold nails and screws in this way and I always bought my household items there. The shop was in the centre of the town and easy to reach.
Then someone told them to ‘re-locate’. So they closed the shop in town and replaced it with a much larger building on the outskirts, in one of the many so-called ‘business parks’ (which I hate with a vengeance).
The result is that I can no longer shop there (I don’t even know exactly where they moved to) and now have to buy my nails and screws in one of the shopping centres, where everything in packaged in loads of plastic.
The world around us has become crazy, and we are now ruled by people who make large amounts of money from selling us things we don’t really want or need, in ways and forms we don’t want or need, and for highly inflated prices. And the more this goes on, the more money they make, while the overall quality of life for most of us is reduced further and further.
Even as an environmentally concerned person I find it ever more harder to live the life I want to live. I still manage to keep the amount of waste and rubbish I produce to a minimum, as anything combustible here is burned in the open fireplace, while bottles and other glass items go to a collection container for glass, which stands about 200 metres from my house.
Composting is a practice I grew up with, and I highly recommend it to anyone. So there is not much left. If everyone would behave in the same way, our national waste problem would not exist.
A local politician I happen to know is trying now for several years – so far without success – to get the supermarkets into a waste reduction scheme. He wants a container installed outside each supermarket, where shoppers can deposit all the unwanted packaging.
Such schemes already exist in several countries on the Continent, including Germany, Denmark, Belgium, Austria and the Netherlands. And they work very well. In Germany there are also laws in place that make the seller responsible for certain packaging wastes. Shops there also have to take back empty bottles and are responsible for their further use, treatment or disposal.
It annoys me almost every day to see how much waste is produced for no good reason, and how irresponsibly it is disposed of by most people.
Children should learn in school how to behave responsibly, with regards to waste as well as in other areas. But this does not happen. And most parents – I am sorry to say – are of no use either. They are they worst examples for their children, not only when it comes to waste.
Where will this all lead to? And how did we lose the normal and useful skills of sensible behaviour we had in the past?
Thanks very much for highlighting this matter. One could write about it every day, I presume. But would it make much of a difference? Somehow I doubt it. We are surrounded by unfit people, unfit in every way. Makes one quite depressed… but I better stop here.
I’ll keep mine short – it’s been a nightmare here – spending time sorting it all into different bags – but as of now we have just one bag and all stuff to be recycled goes in it – so why not do that in the first place?
Oh and I have that very dinkie toy still! From way back!!!!!
Kirk M – If they rebuilt our “health” system on recycled rubbish it would be a vast improvement. At the moment it’s foundations are a mass of incompetent admisistration and appalling leadership.
Emerald – I have a big thing about shops who insist on selling me four AA batteries when I only want one, or a crate of nails when I only want six. I have my little list of shops who still work on the old system and they shall get my trade every time. You may think that they aren’t going to make a profit on one or two screws, but I invariably buy a load of other things while I am there.
As for highlighting the issue, it never harms to remind people of the crazy world we live in. 99% of the problems that exist are there simply because people don’t question them.
Kate – Hah! I had one too. If I remember correctly, there was a corkscrew of twisted tin that twiddled to lift the back up. Mine always jammed! I don’t know where it is now, though I still have most of the rest of my collection [Puppychild just loves ’em!]
There was indeed a winder to lift the back – I think mine is in the attic…. waiting for grandchildren…. Thinking back I used to pretend mine was a mobile chip fryer because the sliding parts reminded me of the equipment in chip shops at that time.
Of course if my big brother got hold of my lorry he just filled it with rubbish…. Typical!
just about to send you an email that Ive just sent to The Guardian about excessive packaging I received on a delivery yesterday. It should give you a giggle.
Becky – Heh! Got that. Good old Lakelands. Herself buys off them from time to time, and got her amazing free aluminium foil too. 🙂