It should have been obvious that something wasn't right. But it wasn't obvious. Eventually I came to learn that something was very wrong that day.
Late last year, the nice bloke at the local tip (with the excellent view of Melbourne's skyline) directed me to drop my glass items for recycling into the area that collects general landfill. I never drop items into that area, and so I felt there was mystery in the directive. But what was it?
Have I mentioned before that we have no rubbish pick up service here at Fernglade farm? For a small fee we could have access to that garbage service, but we have made a conscious decision not to use it. The decision suits us, because not only do we save money by not using the service, but we don't generate much rubbish. So, we can live without rubbish pickup services.
To not use the service was a conscious decision, because from my perspective, it makes absolutely no sense to me to work hard to earn an income, to then purchase stuff, only to then discard it. It also means that we consider all items of rubbish that are created or brought onto the farm. Conscious living at its most fun(damental).
At this point in the story, we need the soothing vocals, music, and lyrics of Boo Seeka with their beautiful song, 'Does this Last'. After all, it is a good question!
When I was a kid, a garbage bin was a smallish galvanised metal bin which held about 60 Litres (15.8 Gallons) volume of rubbish. I never recall anyone complaining about not having enough space for their garbage. Those small garbage bins were lifted by humans and the contents were thrown into the back of a truck. I recall that the garbage bin looked as though it had been through the wars and the lid had clearly been run over by a vehicle at some point. Back in those days, bins were real bins, and garbos were real athletes, which meant that they all had a unique character.
Then at some point the local councils decided to use garbage trucks with robotic arms. This meant that every house received a plastic 120 litre (31.6 gallon) garbage bin with a flip top lid. We were clearly now more enlightened, as we could chuck out twice as much garbage as before.
Someone must have decided that we needed even more enlightenment because the 120 litre bins were deemed not big enough for the average household. And eventually we scored big time with replacement 240 litre (63.2 gallon) bins. Things were clearly looking up because the average house could now chuck out twice as much garbage again! Winning!
At some stage we got all 'environ(mental)' and scored a second 240 litre (63.2 gallon) bin for mixed items for recycling. People were never really clear about what items could be recycled (hello take away coffee cups), but that didn't matter because we had yet another bin. And this bin made us feel really good.
Some other households were even more special because they got a third bin, with a green lid. That bin is for 'green waste'. Green waste is mysterious stuff that could have been composted in peoples backyards. And I know people understand what 'green waste' is because I regularly find in composted green waste: plastic plants; plastic plant pots; plastic pegs; plastic line trimmer; and plastic gloves. Observant readers may be able to spot the common theme: Garden stuff! For some reason there are also myriad plastic animals to be found in composted green waste and dolphins weirdly seem to be the most common. Plastic dolphins must be extra biodegradeable.
I felt good about recycling stuff too, because at least it wasn't garbage which ended up in landfill. But what actually happened to that recycling stuff was that a lot of it was shipped off to China, where they did something with it, and we never gave the recycling stuff a second thought. It was only fair really, given they had sent us a lot of the stuff in the first place.
All good stories eventually end. And the pleasant recycling story seems to have ended rather abruptly recently. It appears that the Chinese no longer wish to accept our recycling stuff. Of course, the Chinese are rather clever and they do still want the metal stuff for recycling, but the paper, cardboard, plastics, and glass, well not so much. They also still want to send us lots of stuff (maybe also known as future rubbish)!
So, what happens now when households have a weekly 240 litre (63.2 gallon) bin full of mixed items for recycling, as well as the standard 240 litre rubbish bin? Well, our local mayor suggested that: "We need to minimise what’s going into recycling bins. It will have to be an effort from everyone." An astute suggestion (??), but does that then mean that the recycling stuff ends up in landfill? It is not as if the recycling stuff suddenly disappears, or does it? What if the rubbish bin is full? So many intriguing questions left unanswered.
My gut feeling is that the items will end up in landfill which will fill up much faster than previously anticipated. My other prediction is that there will be a huge increase in the amount of illegally dumped waste materials. There will also be a lot of complaining about the situation, but few people will want to pay to have their waste recycled, when it has previously been so cheap to dump elsewhere. And even less people will consider the option of reducing their consumption of stuff in the first place.
And it is always worth recalling that failure is always an option and as we became enlightened, so we can become unenlightened!
|Sunrise - an ungodly hour to be awake!|
We have been getting up at day break (an unholy hour) and harvesting summer dried firewood for later use during the cold and damp depths of winter. I'm no fan of early mornings and all I can add is that I'm eternally grateful for the gift of coffee.
|The primary firewood shed is now full|
|The secondary firewood shed is rapidly filling up|
|Ollie enjoys a quiet moment whilst Scritchy the boss dog keeps watch|
|Ollie toothed the watering system for the raised vegetable garden beds|
Earlier in the week I visited the fresh food market in Melbourne - the Queen Victoria Market. I have been purchasing food stuffs (and bones for the dogs to stop them from chewing on the irrigation pipes) there for so long that I can barely recall shopping elsewhere. As a kid, my grandmother used to walk us to the Prahan market (which is still in existence) pushing a shopping jeep. Nowadays, I'm pushing the shopping jeep and I know most of the sellers on sight. Anyway, I spotted a vendor selling a tray of fresh figs and after a short negotiation, I bundled all of the figs into one of the many cloth home made bags we use to bring back fresh produce. The result of that box of fresh figs? As the old timers used to say, read 'em and weep!
|A box of fresh figs were made into an amazing fig jam!|
We have also been drying the many broad beans and dill seeds grown here in the nice summer sun.
|Broad bean seeds and dill seeds are dried in the summer sun|
|We began pickling the cucumbers. Total 100% yummo!|
|Roses enjoyed the big dump in rain combined with the reduction in UV|
|This bush rose growing in an old elderberry is one of my favourite flowers|
|Hydrangeas are as tough as old boots (and a better colour) and have shrugged off heat and the dry|
|Salvia's are also a summer favourite|