Friday, February 17, 2012

The Great Garbage Saga

Tonight Brent and I had a fight about garbage.  We don't fight about sex, we don't fight about money, we fight about garbage.  Ha.  The point of the fight was this: Brent does not want me to overfill the garbage.  But he does not remove the garbage when it is full.  Hence: door slamming, yelling, and tears.  OBVIOUSLY.

Some might say that I should then remove the garbage when it is full but I would just like to say SOME MIGHT BE WRONG!  I do a lot of housework.  A LOT.  Brent's job is garbage, and he is fully on board with this but then he does it wrong.


Anyways, the fight reminded me that I've been wanting to write about garbage for awhile now.  Which is hilarious and I won't blame any of you for not reading about it but you know what?  Garbage is interesting!  At least I think so.

A few years ago I made my first trip to the dump (as an adult.  I used to go with my dad when I was too little to protest).  We borrowed Brent's dad's truck (which actually is his mom's truck, let's be honest and non sexist here: who drives it to work every day despite the fact that it is fourteen times too big for her and she's scared to park it?  Yeah, it's his mom's) and tossed a load of our CRAP in the back and took it to the dump.  Which happens to be 15 blocks from our house, in a warehouse by the river.  First of all, I never knew a dump could be INSIDE.  I guess it is a transfer station and not technically a dump but inside the warehouse was effing garbage as high as the roof, so I'm not really thinking it is a station so much as a disgraceful reminder of all it is to be human participating in a consuming society overrun with stuff.  Or something not quite so armageddon.  (How does blogger not recognize the word armageddon?  Seriously?).
Second of all, the smell made me vomit in my mouth a tiny bit.  It was a wall of rotten food.  There were bulldozers and backhoes and all manner of large industrial vehicles pushing around the piles of garbage and there were men who worked there.  In that smell.  All. Day. Long.  Who has that job?  Oh my gosh, who has that job?!!
It was overwhelming in size and beyond what I could have imagined.  And I think it's a small transfer station and not that bad.  I mean, we live in a city with 130,000 people and we're gonna make garbage.  At least it's not going in the river.

But it was massive.

Around the same time I was trying to compost in our townhouse with a worm compost bin.  I tried three separate times and killed all my worms every time.  I just couldn't do it.  I put the compost bin (without emptying it) in our garage and ignored it for two years.  I pulled it out to toss the contents the spring before we moved and lo and behold, it was beautiful rich dirt!  Some worms survived, bred, and ate my forgotten garbage and pooped out fertilizer!  WOOT!  So I put it in my garden and grew pretty flowers.

When we moved to our own house (YES!!) we tossed the worm bin and got a real live urban backyard composter.  It is easier than the worm bin, actually, and pretty much unkillable.

Not my composter.  Image.
I would take a photo of my own composter but then you would have to wait about a year for me to get around to it.  Why bother?  Mine looks exactly like this one.

ALSO, last year our township started its own composting program!  They pick up our food scraps and compost it in town at a big site.  I'm not sure what they will do with it when it is nice dirt, but possibly sell it for gardens?  Or use it in township gardens?  Who knows.  When I first heard about this idea I thought OH DISGUSTING I'M GOING TO HATE THIS.  But lo and behold (I know!  I said that twice in one post), I love it.  Here is the deal: the 'Green Bin' program takes yard trimmings and food scraps in one pail/garbage can, marked with a township 'Green Can' sticker.  Food scraps means ALL FOOD.  Meat, bones, cheese, bread: you name it.  It also means biodegradables, like paper towel, kleenex, cardboard, paper bags, etc.  SO COOL.  In the summertime we put vegetable scraps in one pail for our backyard composter, and all other food in a second scraps pail for the green bin.  In the winter the worms are too sleepy to keep up with our vegetable scraps so we put everything in the green bin.

Not my bin.  Image.
 because why take photos when I can lazily google images?  He he.

The reason I thought I would hate it is because it seemed gross.  Garbage on my counter?  Stinky food garbage?  In a pail I have to clean?  NO THANK YOU.  In reality though I line my scraps bucket with a biodegradable paper bag and it gets emptied (OR NOT) by my lovely spouse, who is really quite nice.  And handsome.  And total blog fodder when he acts like an asshole he forgets to take out the garbage.  The scraps pail is small enough that we fill it every one to two days, so it doesn't usually have time to get smelly.  AND if it does, it has a LID!  Which closes!  Unlike my under the sink garbage, which always just got stinky when all the garbage went in it.  And because it sits on my counter, I scrub it every time it gets emptied so it is far cleaner than the old method.
Our under the sink garbage gets full WAY less often (it is actually the scraps bucket we fought over.  Not to say that we haven't fought over the under the sink garbage pail because OH YES WE HAVE.  Just not tonight) and sometimes even only needed emptying once a week.  I'm not sure if there was a lot of dead air space in the garbage before or what, but we are producing way less garbage.  The garbagy garbage gets shipped 302.6 Kilometers (according to Google) from our town to Cache Creek, which gets paid a premium for accepting garbage from the entire Lower Mainland.  Cache Creek makes so much income from this project that the residents pay no property taxes.  None.  Zero.  Show me that money, dude!!  Except not in summer.  Blech.

So now with most of our garbage going either into our backyard or into the community compost, far less of it makes it to the transfer station, into trucks, and up to Cache Creek to be filled into the land along with everyone else's plastic uselessnesses.  That is very, very good.  Plus my kitchen smells better, which is really the best part.  =)


Louise Chapman said...

We have the same composter and it makes for the best garden soil!! We've also grown a few funky things in our garden due to the seeds in it:) And in this house, the garbage is Gary's job too.

Rachel @ Lautaret Bohemiet said...

Ok, I'm going to post a comment on this post now, and I'm also gonna tell you why I have been commenting less on your blog.

First, the comment. Haha! This was hilarious. Garbage is also one of Cam's (OR MY BROTHER'S) only jobs around the house and I still end up doing it ALL THE TIME. And I have TWO men who are "supposed" to be helping with it. Blagh. Men. Great post, though. Very informative. Made me want to get my compost really going again!

Secondly, the reason I haven't been commenting as much on your blog is because ever since the new formatting on your blog, commenting is more laborious, so although I still TRY to read every post, commenting takes too much time and so sometimes I just can't do it.

Currently, only one post shows at a time on your blog, so a person has to read and comment on that one post, then click to older posts for every single one. So what happens is I sometimes miss a post. I used to NEVER miss a post, now I miss them all the time, I am finding. You'll reference one, and I'm like, "what?" and then I have to click back page by page to see what I missed. If maybe more than one post showed at a time (most people have usually 5-10 posts showing?) then it would be a lot easier, because loading the home page every single time, especially with the fancy background, just takes forever.

But I do still love to read! And I'm bummed whenever I find I have missed a post.