Most of you who know me know that I am a compulsive recycler. I describe it as an addiction because I literally can’t stop myself from picking up recyclables whatever and wherever they are in hopes I’ll be able to reclaim what little value they have left in the post-use waste stream (along with helping to make the planet a little more picturesque and critter-friendly).
My husband used to pretend that he didn’t know me when I’d pick up fast food trash on the side of the road, and my brother-in-law just about killed me when I encouraged his son to pick up smashed cans with his little bare hands from grimy Pittsburgh sidewalks. No trash was beneath me!!
I worked to set-up recycling at the office (in addition to insisting on biodegradable paper plates for monthly birthday lunches), and I managed to accumulate a closetful of styrofoam bits and pieces over the years because I couldn’t bear to send the non-biodegradable items to the landfill when there was no recycling capabilities available for this cursed material. (Here’s one idea I had for re-using styrofoam.) I’d save all my newspaper, junk mail, and cracker boxes in overflowing bins and take them to the collection site at the library so they could make an extra buck on bulk recycling. I’d stash random bits of monofilament fishing line to take to the waterfront depository once every three years. I’d collect broken dishes in hopes the shards could be used in an artful mosaic sometime in the near future. I’d tear off the front of our Christmas cards and give the paper bundles to the Very Special Arts program for craft projects. I believed, and still do, that EVERYTHING can find a second – or third, or fourth – life if we just take the time and make the effort to handle our so-called waste products more responsibly (starting by reducing).
Well, as you may have read in previous posts, moving helped me to see that I was somewhat crippled by my propensity for saving ‘useless’ items and damaged goods. I had a significant amount of square-footage tied up in storage for these perceived waste products, and that created major stress issues when it was time to clean out and pack. I looked forward to having a blank slate in NM where I wouldn’t be inundated with unnecessary garbage from Chinese takeout, and debilitated with decisions about how to appropriately dispose of the trash we accumulate everyday.
We had very little bona fide ‘trash’ to put out at the curb in Florida anyway because we composted all our kitchen scraps, used cloth bags (or none at all) when shopping, and even made trips to the scrap yard. Should be easy to transition these activities to the mountains, yes?!
Nope! Here in Cuba, things are not so ‘neat.’ There is no apparent community-wide recycling program with pretty color-coded receptacles. (Okay, recycling exists, but it’s definitely going to be a labor of love once we can coordinate the schedule to make the drops ourselves.) We don’t have curbside rubbish removal at our place, so we were counting on a public dumpster in town to dispose of any non-recyclables when we make our intermittent trips. No unlocked dumpsters to be found. Again, another trip to the dump to schedule (and pay for – 50 cents a garbage bag). Composting? Sure, but we need to remain vigilant to keep from attracting bears and other critters to the smelly food scraps.
Rubbish is just maddening!! I thought we’d have a lot less trash than we do here, but we’re buying a lot of packaged foods from the grocery until we can build storage and raise up a garden to can/preserve, and we still have cardboard boxes coming out of our ears from the move. We’re not yet ready to set up our own brewery/distillery, so bottles and cans holding precious liquids are a necessary evil. I keep trying to imagine the future when we won’t have the disposable waste we have now, but we really need to figure out how to sensibly and responsibly lock down the garbage we have today.
So until we can heat up our new compost pile and coordinate trips to the dump, a good hot fire is the best we can do. And, hey, if you are on FB, go give our new page a like…
Can you tell we’re having the time of our life here, because we really are!! ;D