Friday, 22 May 2015

Rubbish









Our neighbours moved out a few weeks ago. We had one of those peaceful ‘ships-in-the-night’ relationships with them where we just waved and said hello, but didn’t know each other’s names or borrow cups of sugar from each other.

Apparently though, we also had the kind of relationship where they could shove their last awkwardly-sized pieces of rubbish in OUR wheelie bin just minutes before they pissed off to their new house.

Selfish pricks.

This wasn’t the first time they encroached on our bin space. I overlooked the other occasion because it was after a party, and some of their visitors, with skins full of alcohol, shoved about 25 pizza boxes in our recycling bin. I’m not the most confrontational person, so I elected not to point out that their pizza boxes might have squeezed into their own recycling bin if they hadn’t shoved a broken lawn chair in there already! See, I’m nice like that.

When I was a girl we had a metal Oscar-sized rubbish bin at home. Everything that wasn’t composted or re-used went into that garbage bin.

Incinerators were all the rage too, mainly at institutions with lots of paper. At school, our janitor seemed to spend quite a bit of time tending to the incinerator.  I imagine all that metho on the stencils would have helped keep things ablaze.

Like I said, we didn’t throw much out when I was a girl. My Nanna even used to wash the few plastic bags she owned and hang them on the line. Re-using things was ingrained in people, after generations of essential thrift.

Our food wasn’t often packaged, but when it was, like when we bought a Streets Heart ice cream on a car trip,  well we didn’t have a problem with throwing that useless sticky wrapper right out the car window … until the whole nation was told to ‘Do the Right Thing’ in the early 80s. Or else!

My intention with this post was really to just tell a few stories comparing the past and the present, like I often do. But I’m finding it hard to wrap things up without appearing to sermonise the issue.

Anyway, I’ll just leave you with another story.

During the most recent school holidays we visited a big new park in our area. We went on five different days around the same time – arriving at lunch time and leaving around 4 or 5. On each of those days there were really, really large extended family groups picnicking and barbecuing, but they were different groups each day.

I wasn’t exactly policing their activities, but I couldn’t help notice the varying attitudes they had to the rubbish they produced and how they disposed of it. One of the groups had an elaborate supply of re-usable picnicware which they took home with them when they left. A couple of groups had disposable picnicware which they bagged up and put in the bin.

And one group had disposable EVERYTHING, which they just threw all over the park. Everywhere. I’m not kidding. The park looked like a rubbish dump after they left. It was so bad that I felt like a guilty bystander, just letting it happen. The only things I did to defend against their filthy crusade were 1) a lengthy scowling side-eye at a woman who spat her chewing gum straight out on to the ground, and 2) I gathered up a few of their Styrofoam cups from the ground and handed them over saying something flimsy like “Oh, look, your rubbish is blowing away, here you go”, hoping they would take the hint and pick up the rest of their crap.

They didn’t.


I think that might just be the tip of the iceberg, don’t you?








Picture source: Pixabay. No attribution required.

24 comments:

  1. Reminds me of that Mad Men episode where the Drapers go out for a picnic and shake their rubbish off the blanket all over the park.

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    1. Hi Kaz. I think I am one of the few people in this world who has never watched Mad Men. I googled that episode and there is actually a lot of discussion out there about it, related to the whole littering and rubbish issue.
      Anyway, I think that was my point - the human race has always been fairly self-interested, and there has always been selfish 'littering' and rubbish disposal. In times gone by, people had frugal reasons for not disposing of too much rubbish AND of course there was less packaging, etc to create the excess waste. That basic human selfishness is unfortunately a huge problem because of the way big business has changed our world.

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  2. My recent move was a lesson in recycling - I used a company affiliated with my movers called eco move that provide recycle plastic green containers. The drop them off and pick them up and the beauty of it all is that they prevent unnecessary breakage. And they were free! As for the paper that the packers used to wrap stuff - good God! Talk about overkill! In the end though I worked out that if I folded it neatly as I unpacked, it took up less room and a quarter of the bin space. Proper use of recycle bins is a huge bug bear for me - it's not rocket science people! But seeing our apartment complex bins, apparently it is for some! Thanks for linking up with us at Champagne Missives :) We love it when you stop by and leave a comment :)

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    1. I'm hearing you on the chaos of shared bins for apartments, Fluffy. I lived in the same apartment in Albert Park for 8 years and the filthy non-recycleable crap that people would put into the recycle bins was shocking. And also, I appeared to be the only person who knew that the bins had to be taken out to the kerb and brought back in again!

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  3. Aw yes, I remember those metal bins too! I'm always amazed when I see people walk away from a public place without binning what should be binned.

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    1. Because they are selfish idiots, Tonia. I'm not claiming to be the greenest of the green, but seriously that's just basic.

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  4. My pet hate is when people throw cigarette butts out of car windows! Really irks me!

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    1. Ha ha, Shannon, I had actually jotted that down prior to writing this post, but I left it off because I'd already blahed on a bit. Hate it!

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  5. We had an incinerator and I remember metho photocopiers. Surely you can't be as old as me? I see kids at school just chucking their papers on the ground as they tear up to the oval at play time. They must pick that up from their parents because not littering is drummed into them at school. I like your style picking up their cups so they wouldn't 'blow away' :)

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    1. Pinky I am 49, but my kids are only 8 and 9, so there is a 40 year gap between my childhood stuff and theirs. Always makes for a good contrast!
      And yeah, I always see kids at school running out of the classroom at the end of the day peeling off the wrapper from some piece of crap they's been given for somebody's birthday (usually a lollipop) and throwing the wrapper on the ground.
      Thanks for re-tweeting me this morning BTW. x

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  6. I thought the rule was, once the bin is on the street, any space is a free for all...after parties I have to do the street roam for put the extra bottles...Are you telling me the neighbours are cursing me?

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    1. The bins were in our yard - it was still 2 nights away from garbage night, Lydia! Also, I think those kind of rules have regional variances, much like putting hard waste on the kerb for people to wander by and help themselves to. Not done here, but in previous places I've lived it was OK!

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  7. I found out a few years ago that you are actually lawfully allowed to put your rubbish into other neighbours' bins as long as they've finished filling theirs just before the truck comes. Bit of interesting trivia! Hilarious and awful that your neighbours filled yours right before they left!!

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    1. I think it's fair enough to do it just before the truck comes. Rules or not, it's just common sense and consideration. I think those laws are still local though. Anyway, hilarious and awful is absolutely right. Thanks Jody :)

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  8. I remember metal bins and we had an incinerator in our backyard when I was a kid too! I also am old enough to remember firecracker night!

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    1. Cracker night! I certainly remember that. Back when we didn't spend billions of dollars on public fireworks for every other occasion, lol.

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  9. Some people's attitude to rubbish and the environment just amaze me. When we were travelling we came across a family of four that only ever used disposable plates, cutlery and cups. They planned on being on the road for 12 months and never washing a dish!

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    1. That's weird Rhianna. Did they use paper pots and saucepans too? LOL.

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  10. I get so annoyed at the amount of rubbish that is left in our large playground in town. It seems everytime we go there, I am picking something up and putting it in the bin. It's just laziness.

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    1. It's just stupid, Alicia. They don't care.

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  11. Litter bugs are the worst - grrrrrrr. I get very pent up watching someone deliberately litter and, like you, I usually say something. I don't mind people using my bin, though. I'm happy they didn't throw their stuff on the ground like many do... and dumping in the streets! There's an old mattress someone turfed out of their car on the bush kerb just up the road from our house. It makes me cross every time I drive past it. Who does that!?! x

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    1. That kind of dumping (of mattrasses,etc) is quite a big problem. Usually to avoid the council's $72 tip fee people will dump that kind of thing - seems to be a problem around large dumpsters in local office areas. Thanks Bron. x

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  12. Ohhh those litterers... my absolute hate and runners.... even worse..

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