“We’re in a giant car heading towards a brick wall and everyone’s arguing over where they’re going to sit”
― David Suzuki
Like most people, I’ve been trying to clean up my act in the recycling world by producing less garbage, especially removing plastic from my life. Truthfully, I’m not doing so well. It’s hard – plastic is everywhere and we all live in plastic. A couple of years ago our municipality introduced an environmentally accommodating trash service that asked the community to place all their organic waste in a green organic bin, recyclables in a blue bin and garbage in a black bin. Every week the city picks up the organic bin and either the garbage or the recycling bin. By picking up the garbage every two weeks, the incentive is to reduce garbage to a minimum encouraging the community to use their blue and green bins more than their black garbage bins.
I thought it was great and more than happy to comply. I’m really not the type to stand around talking to the neighbours, so I just assumed everyone was happy. As time progressed, I noticed a few neighbours did not put out their green bins on garbage day. I’m pretty sure they were eating so where did all the food go? My next door neighbour who is essentially Mr. Mom and every now and then when I’m out gardening and he’s out doing his stuff we stop and chat for a while. Interesting because I’ve never really connected with the woman in this hood because the odd time I have stood in with some of the women, they mostly stand around bitching about their husbands. Really, I’ve got better things to do with my time, like yell at my kids! Mr. Mom never complains about his wife or his kids, our conversations consist of gardening, lawns, house renovations and hockey. Mr. mom’s wife is trying to establish herself in a very competitive business and I admire how supportive Mr. mom is of his wife as he works full-time and takes care of his children and everything else in the house.
One day during the summer I was cleaning out my green bin and Mr. mom comes over and says to me “you still using that green bin?” “Yeah, why aren’t you?” “No I gave up on the organic thing, can’t be bothered.” “Why, this is a great program, why are you not using it, you have to throw food out so why not use the organic program?” He then told me meat is a problem, especially during the summer as flies and maggots are horrendous. I told him I put most of my food, especially any meat leftovers, in the freezer until garbage day and then dump the frozen leftovers in the green bin on garbage pick-up day. I told him he should try that and not to give up the green program. I saw the look in his eyes, he was telling me to F#@$ off without saying it. He then said “I don’t have time to be running to the freezer and then remember to take it out on garbage day – not happening.” This man is busy, I get it and I guess one more thing to worry about is just too much for him. However, he’s throwing his food in plastic bags and then throwing the bag into the garbage bin which is only collected once every two weeks. I guess maggots are more acceptable in garbage bags because there has to be a whole city of critters helping out with the decomposition of animal parts in his garbage. Of course that never happens to miss organic girl here – I take care to see that my bins are clean and keep the critters at bay by minimizing the time food is in the bin.
After that conversation, I came home from work one day and Mr. mom’s garbage bin was still out and he wasn’t home yet. I grabbed the bin and pushed it back to the side of his house and all of a sudden I felt this tingling on my hands and up my arms. I am not a squeamish person, but when I looked down at my arms there were these tiny bugs that seemed almost invisible in colour and it felt like there were hundreds of them on my hands and running up my arms. I quickly brushed them off and then looked at his garbage can, the garbage lid was full of these bugs I’ve never seen before – so gross. I then used my foot to push his bin all the way back to the side of his house and rushed home to wash away any germs these disgusting bugs were carrying from my hands and arms. Mental note to myself – as much as I like Mr. mom I am never touching that man’s garbage again.
I believe in Karma and sure enough my goody two-shoes organic girl bin reputation was put to the test. That summer we had a barbecue and I placed a small green organic bin outside and scraped all of the left-overs in the bin with the intention of putting the bin in the freezer for the next trash pick-up. Guess I was pretty busy because I forgot about the bin and it sat there in the hot sun for days. I noticed this putrid smell in our kitchen and I kept asking the boys and my husband if they knew what the smell was. I looked through the cupboards and the fridge expecting to find a body because that’s what it smelled like, like somebody died! Opened up the back door and at the bottom of the stairs I saw the green bin and I knew, there was a whole lot of critters helping with decomposition in that bin. I opened the lid and there were maggots everywhere! Got my rubber gloves, picked up the bin and dumped it into the bigger green bin and then covered the maggots with vinegar. Vinegar is supposed to kill maggots – I used the whole bottle. I then bleached the hell out of the small green bin and the big green bin after garbage day. Mr. mom came out while I was having a freak and he had a big smile on his face – karma’s a bitch!
The war of plastic is still on in our house as I struggle to find ways not to use any plastic. Really hard as the boys seem to love plastic. A few sites below that help with the fight against plastic. Good products – a little expensive but cheap compared to the future cost of plastic on our environment. Etsy is another great source for homemade bags for sandwiches, snacks and just about everything else you can imagine. Luna pads have great products and that’s all I’m gonna say!