Hi, My name is Terri… and I’m a recycler.
Yes, I sort all my cardboard, cans, plastic, glass and paper and pile it all up. I’m saving the planet. Never mind that in the process I’m creating a monster pile of recycling which has been threatening to take over my small kitchen and spill into the rest of my garden cottage.
The only reason I’m able to write about this now, however, is that on Friday I finally got my act together, loaded it all into my car (it took several trips between the kitchen and the driveway) and carted it all off to the Oasis recycling depot in Claremont. Shockingly so close that I was horrified I’d let it collect up for so many months. But at least I didn’t feel as though I’d wasted my precious petrol getting there. Then again, it does seem rather weird to be “driving” somewhere to drop off recycling with a view to saving the planet – carbon emissions and all that, but I digress.
It felt great handing over all that recycling knowing that it was all going to be… well, whatever they do with it. I want to say crushed up and melted down, but I’m sure it’s a whole lot more complicated than that.
In addition to saving the planet I’m now also able to walk freely in my kitchen again. If you’ve been to visit in the last 8 months or so you’d understand, it really was bad. Even the sweet lady at Oasis looked at me nervously when I hauled a huge black bag full of two litre cooldrink bottles out of my car. Seriously, there must have been more than 30 of them. I was too ashamed to count – firstly because fizzy drinks are “like so last week” and I’d also have then had to multiply by ten to see how much money I’d set aside specifically for the purpose of rotting my teeth.
Yes, it’s all a little sad. But I had a warm fuzzy moment realising that had I not thought to recycle, all those bottles would be spending the next eight zillion years in our soil somewhere.
And that brings me neatly to something else that has been bugging me. Landfills.
I received a press release today about the proposed new landfill site, which is all very well, but if you actually devote a few seconds to the idea of a landfill it’s horrific. We’re so good at taking all the stuff we don’t know what to do with or are ashamed of and burying it somewhere quiet. And no, I’m not talking about dear great Aunt Maude (MHDSRIP). I’m talking about scandal, corruption and litter. If we were able to and no one stopped us we’d have covered all the planets in our solar system with corrupt politicians, drug addicts, criminals and rusted coke cans by now.
While I won’t argue about some of those, there’s very little excuse for us to be burying rubbish.
Yes, I still create litter which ends up at our dumps and in the landfills. But a minimal amount compared to most of my neighbours. Just about everything can be recycled, you just need to do a little digging (so to speak) to find out where to take it. Food stuff can be dug back into the garden or fed to your happy little worm farm. I really really really want to make a worm farm. The whole idea is brilliant and fascinating. Google it.
And now, I’ve started really taking note of the packaging things I buy come in. I take my own bags to Pick n Pay. I use my own plastic plate and knives and forks at the canteen at work so that I don’t end up sending thousands of polystyrene plates to the dump. I’ll even take my own mug down to my fav coffee shop instead of using a paper take-away cup. They only look at you like you’re from another planet for the first couple of times you do it.
It’s the small things that help.
Okay, okay, I’m not exactly a “small thing” but at least I’m doing my bit. Oh and I also replanted my veggie garden. In a little while I should have some lovely cabbage, beans, patti pan and mielie shoots appearing.
So take a look at your rubbish before you simply toss it in the bin, and find out where your closest recycling depot is.
My recycling box is already filling up again. This time I’d better make sure I catch it before it mounts a full scale offensive again.