What a load of rubbish
I read a piece this morning over on Frank Davis’ site which made me think back to The Good Old Days.
One thing that didn’t exist then is the now ubiquitous wheelie bin. I hate wheelie bins, simply because they are ugly and everywhere, but I do admit that they are extremely robust and convenient.
We have three. We have a black one for general rubbish, a large green one for recycling and a smaller green one for glass. The black one can go out any week, but I am billed for any time I leave it out. The large green one can go out any second week, and it’s free. The small green one goes out even more irregularly and it too is free. Complicated.
Back in the Fifties, we had a weekly collection, where a truck came around, and they used to clatter our galvanised bin against it and it made a great racket. I don’t think we left the bin out very often though, as we had very little rubbish.
How did a family of five have so little rubbish, you ask?
For a start, in those days, there was no plastic or expanded polystyrene foam. If you bought fruit or rashers or whatever, it either came loose, or wrapped in paper. There was none of that fiddly shit of having to fight with Clingfilm or those fucking vacuum packed yokes. There was very little in the way of packaging in those days, and we were all better off for it.
So what did we do with household waste?
If it was edible, it went one of several ways – meat was minced and reused, or it went into the dog, or if it was beyond redemption, it went on the compost heap. Every house had a compost heap in those days. The heap would take everything from meat, fruit, vegetables and tea leaves through to grass cuttings. In return it would supply beautiful rich loam for the garden.
If something was burnable, it was burnt. The bonfire took care of all paper, cardboard and just about anything else that wouldn’t compost. It also took care of the larger garden waste such as hedge clippings, small branches and weeds.
Glass was rarely a problem. Milk bottles were returned to the doorstep for the milkman to collect. Drink bottles were returned to the shops for a refund. Jam jars were usually kept and reused.
So what went out in the bin?
Very little. The bin was reserved for things like broken glass [carefully wrapped in newspaper], old bones and bits of metal that couldn’t be reused elsewhere. Our garage was full of old tin cans holding nails, screws and the like. I still have some of ‘em.
There were a lot of houses on our road. On bin day, a very small truck could cope with the lot. No problem.
There was none of this shit about computer-chipped bins, charging by the lift, or collections every second or sixth week.
And no one complained about lack of landfill sites.
Environmentally friendly way ahead of the curve 🙂
What’s more, Séamus, no one spouted any shite about ‘eco-awareness’ or ‘environmentally friendly’. We did it that way, because it was the way it was done and it never occurred to us to throw everything away, like is done nowadays.
Same here, Gramps. We had a household of five kids and two dogs, and the Old Man put a bin out every two weeks. The only difference is that I remember saving empty jam jars for the flicks. 2lb jars were worth tuppence, and five would get you into the Saturday matinee. Mind you, we had to fight the Old Lady for them; she was always wanted them for stupid stuff, like filling them with home-made jam and crab-apple jelly.
Tessa – Of course another aspect was that we didn’t buy so many pre-packed, pre-cooked things. As you say, jam was made at home, along with bread and cakes. Crab apple jelly brings back memories!! I never liked it much but we had a huge crab apple tree so there was always loads of the stuff around.
I’m just back from Libya. (It took me three days to get home though). They have rubbish collection every day of the week. You simply put all your stuff (no need to separate) in a plastic bag outside the front door last thing at night, and when you wake up next morning it is gone. The government do not charge for this service.
Third world countries indeed. They are smarter than us in many ways.
When we were young we took drugs to make the world wierd.
Now that the world IS wierd we take drugs to make it normal again
Back in those days the garbos used to wear sleevless footy jumpers. They told little me it was because rats would run up long sleeves. I’ve peferred short sleeves since then.
Oh that infernal packaging..! We have grey and green personal bins and communal glass (white, green and brown) containers, as well as paper+carton containers and now a new one (appearing on the streets a couple of months ago) requiring that we separate polystyrene, cellophane, yoghurt tops etc., etc., from plastic bottles, pasta and rice bags, plantpots, etc…..?????????? The list is endless and I give up! They can’t FINE you if they can’t FIND you is a thought… and I wouldn’t be trying to encourage criminal behaviour…. but if a person were to destroy everything with their name and address on it before disposal in the rubbish bags that have to go in the free containers…
Of cause that doesn’t solve the computer chip disposal bin. Oh hell!
Ranty – In fairness, Libya does have one small advantage – they have the entire Sahara to dump their rubbish in? And when that’s full, there is always the Mediterranean?
Brianf – The only problem is that we are taking the wrong drugs. The world would be a better place if we all just stuck to Guinness.
Welcome, Gingermick! I wonder what Elf and Safety would have to say about that? Those were the Good Old Days when people could wear what they liked without bothering with hard hats, or steel capped boots or any of that shite.
Geri – I am a great admirer of the French system. You just dump your stuff in the communal bins and forget about it. I don’t know when the bins are emptied, but they are never full. Very civilised.
It’s odd really.
We have to pay for a service – to get our rubbish collected and disposed of – but if we don’t ‘do it’ the way the service providers say we should, they have the power to make us pay fines. But we can’t choose an alternative service provider that does this job the way we, the ones who are paying, would like.
Welcome, Mrs Rigsby! The way it works here is that we have competition for rubbish disposal. In practical terms, what that means is that we get feck all say in the matter, and the local council can pick the cheapest service. In fairness though, I must say our service isn’t too bad, judging by some of the carry-on I have heard of in the UK!!