Monday, October 18, 2010

Waste Not Want Not

Before CP and I were married, he was once visiting me in nearby St George (where I lived and worked at the time). I had to head to the coast early one Sunday morning, and as CP was leaving after me, I asked him to take out the 'wheelie bin'. Hopefully everyone reading this knows what a wheelie bin is. But just in case, it's like the size of a small fridge. It's a heavy duty plastic garbage bin, where you store all your rubbish (out on the side of the road) so that the garbage truck can take it away on the designated day. And it's on wheels. (See picture).

So I left CP with the simple instructions to "wheel the bin out to the side of the road before he left." CP nodded enthusiastically. And then off he trotted to go and inspect this amazing thing I called a 'wheelie bin'. Moments later I was summonsed downstairs.
"Jessie, how exactly do I take this bin out to the road?"
"Ummmm.... you hold the handles and tip it, and push it out."
"But I mean, which way does it face?"
"Are you kidding?"
"Why would I be kidding?"
"Errrrr.... never mind. The handles have to face the house."
"So I just hold it like this (he demonstrates the correct stance required) and then wheel it out?"
"How far from the road do I leave it?"
"(Trying to restrain a laugh) It doesn't matter."
"Can we just do a rehearsal?"

And so we did. We did this it until CP was sure he could handle it alone. Too cute.

It got me thinking. How on earth is it possible that a 20 something year old had never dealt with a wheelie bin before, in this country, in this day and age?

And then it occurred to me to ask what happens with rubbish out on a farm. CP (many weeks later) took me for a drive out to the farm rubbish dump. (Really romantic way to spend our weekend together!). It all makes sense really. If you live 40km from the nearest town, you can't really wheel your bin out to the nearest 'main' road (3 km away), in the hope that some non-existent rubbish truck might take it away for you. So this is how it works out here...

1. You place your rubbish in a bin inside your house. (Much like in any town anywhere). We keep food scraps separate for our chooks. We also try to keep glass and aluminium cans separate too. And I will explain why later.

2. When the inside bin is full, CP takes it outside to the "rubbish drum" not far from the house. (Outside jobs are all for CP, I find I am much more competent when it comes to inside jobs). The rubbish inside the drums is burnt until it is a pile of ash.

3. This continues until the drum is full, and then it is taken by farm truck out to the 'dump' which is about a kilometre from the house, and then emptied. The drum is returned to its usual resting place and the process continues.

4. Bottles, glass and cans are recycled either in town (driven in as the allocated drum fills) or given to people who come to the farm for recreational purposes (such as shooting)  who take it back to the 'big smoke' and are able to claim financial rewards for recycling such products. Or we just bury it in our own dump.

Since I am a compulsive "non-hoarder", I have a real issue with keeping any kind of rubbish around. I'm so bad, I throw something out and then weeks later will wish I hadn't. Photos from when I was 15, diaries, books, you name it. I'm terrible. I married into a family that is the complete opposite. I once told my father in law that we should throw out any old furniture we didn't need anymore. His exact words were, "Waste not, want not. If we throw it out today, I guarantee we will need it tomorrow."

And so we don't throw anything out.

When one storage shed gets too overcrowded, we build another storage shed.

And that's just what you do when you have all this space.


  1. LOL - "When one storage shed gets too overcrowded, we build another storage shed". I love that quote. I have one shed, and it's at capacity. There is no room for more sheds.

  2. Love the wheelie bin story!

    And I need a shed! At the moment I have a tiny old slaughter house (without a door) and the swallows think it is there for them to build their nests and crap over everything. But I refuse to put out poison for birds so just have to not accumulate. I'm not a natural hoarder so it's not a major problem.

  3. You never know when something might come in handy :)
    We used to handle rubbish in a very similar way on my parents farm when I was a kid.


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