Life is rubbish

Everywhere I turn there’s so much waste. Every Sunday night, Husband drags our full-to-bursting recyling bin and garbage bin onto the curb. I kid myself I’m being good, cutting down on packaging, steering towards fresh foods. But all those cereal boxes, beer cartons and juice containers keep piling up. Then there’s the twice-yearly junk removal service provided by our local council. Just chuck your crap on the grass and someone whisks it away. Easy peasy. (Didn’t need that fancy schmancy collection business in Petersham, throw anything in your front yard and someone/thing would scuttle along and take it, even old toilet seats.) Last week, I jogged/walked/drove past an insane number of sofas, mattresses, broken IKEA furniture, baby change tables and outdoor furniture tossed for the council pick-up. As I jogged/walked/drove, I wondered whether it’s actually counterproductive for the council to provide such a handy service. Does it make it too simple to get rid of stuff? Husband, on the other hand, was most distraught that we weren’t prepped for it. He’s mad keen to chuck half the stuff in our attic. All that chucking. It feels a bit wrong. A lot wrong. My grandparents didn’t throw stuff away. Every plastic bag, no matter how small, was rinsed and dried for reuse. If something broke, Pop fixed it. When they no longer needed something, they found someone who did. Nan and Pop weren’t concerned with the latest homewares fad, they were content with their 1940s chest of drawers, their 1950s frying pan, their 1960s sideboard, their 1970s dining table. Nothing matched, it wasn’t remotely fashionable, it was a bit crusty, but it did the job. And that was all that mattered. I wish I could be like them, but I know if I win the lottery I’ll be flinging half the contents of my house onto the nature strip next council throw out. I want a home that’s schmick and matchy matchy instead of hodge-podge. My current “look” is some bits from Nan, some bits from Mum, some bits from the second-hand shop, and a dash of IKEA. Every month, I gaze enviously at Home Beautiful and wonder where all the money comes from to decorate all those immaculate houses. Even when we were a two-income household, we weren’t splashing out on replica Eames chairs. (Which, just quietly, might not be such a bad thing. I suspect that stuff isn’t built to last. In a few years, I’ll be jogging past vast piles of broken, bodgy designer replica furniture at council throw-out time.) There’s a better me that dreams about growing my own vegies, banning packaged foods, having a compost heap and not buying anything new for a year. And there’s the lazy me who can’t be shagged scrape out the mouldy half-eaten dips from the fridge, rinse the containers and recycle them, but instead – when Husband isn’t looking – throws them in the bin. And it’s people like me – who support the IDEA of being greener and cutting down on waste, but only if they don’t have to actually DO anything – who are screwing the environment. Hmmmm, I think I’ll file this one under “soapbox”.

10 thoughts on “Life is rubbish

  1. I constantly have plans to be better, live a greener life etc but every day I fail miserably. I keep telling myself that if I could just get the house looking the way I want then I would live with it like that for the next 30 years. After all the highly uncomfortable lounge we sit on is over 20 years old, we’ve had the car for 15 years (to the point it is now an environmental hazard belching smoke and leaking oil).

    • We have two lounges, an uncomfortable one from the 60s and a squishy one from the 20s/30s. I dream about one of those flashy L-shaped numbers. It doesn’t feel very grown-up to be hodge-podge, feels like a student way of life.

      • Those flashy L-shaped lounges are a con. None of them are comfortable, with their too-low backs and their too-deep seating areas. I cannot for the life of me understand their popularity. It’s the emperor’s new clothes. They might look nice, but they fail to perform the basic function of a couch – somewhere to lounge and watch telly.

  2. Yes! I loved how we were able to place anything by the road side in Summer Hill and it would gone 5 mins later! (though I still badly regret telling the super-excited family carrying our old couch away,what a fantasic little couch it is and that we only couldn’t keep it because we were moving. They looked so embarassed and uncomfortable and I was kicking myself for not just having kept my BIG MOUTH SHUT).
    Here, we have to bring our rubbish to the tip once a month now and once you’ve been there you feel sick, sick, sick to hear a friend in the city tell you that they couldn’t bother recycling and threw their old CDs in the bin rather than making the trip to Vinnies.

  3. You need the council clean-up because, as you say, people will chuck stuff on the footpath anyhow, knowing somebody will clean it up sooner or later. Marrickville council area has to be the worst for this. Every footpath in Marrickville is a potential rubbish dump. Nobody fixes anything these days. Who darns a sock? We throw them out for a tiny hole in one end, even though 98% of the sock is still fine. Do TV repair shops even exist any more? The Wombles would be shaking their heads at the amount of raw material they have to work with nowadays.

  4. At our dump we have a recycle shop where they’ve collected things that are still usable and put them up for sale – unfortunately it is privately run and they charge way too much for it to be truly successful. It is all very frustrating. On a positive note I remember Germany having some sort of a Green Dot system where stores had to take back their own packaging. I thought that was a fantastic idea!

    • I’ve often dreamed about a business where I would go around filling up people’s reusable containers with all the staple goods: washing powder, rice, sugar, flour etc

  5. Hi,
    Like this blog. This is a somewhat unrelated point about rubbish … My pet peeve is when I am sitting on the ferry – outside – and people leave their coffee cups, papers etc. on the floor or seat. Are they too dumb to realise that if they don’t put it in a bin it will end up in the ocean? I wish people took more care. I feel sick when I see plastic bottles etc. floating in the water.

  6. We don’t have a car. We sold it. Got too many parking tickets so it had to go. Stockholm has a fantatic public transport system so we are never are too far away from anything. I’ve awarded myself a ‘green’ badge for that. And that’s what I tell myself every time I look at all the recycling we do and don’t do and all the crap we have that we don’t need…

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