It’s official, out kerbside waste is too small.

Filed in Blog by on July 16, 2008 14 Comments
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kerbside waste

We were half wondering this might happen and today it has! Are we happy, annoyed or just puzzled? Wednesday is our kerbside waste collection day and we dutifully weighed our tiny offering and packed it up neatly for collection. Ah, if only all the householders in our village had so little … the collector lorry would only need to be a small transit!

So out went the waste, a small amount of unrecycleble plastic items, crushed down and packed into a bright orange Sainsbury’s plastic bag, easy to see and ready for collection.

Two hours later, it was still there on the kerbside while everyone elses buxom black bags had been taken. Small, lonely and too insignificant to be considered waste, they had left it behind. Probably thought someone had dropped a small shopping bag or something…

It’s no big deal, we will just keep it until next week, or maybe, we’ll get the message that small is not so beautiful and store all our little weekly bags for a year and then make a big ‘waste goodbye’ on our pavement. At least they may see it then.

There’s a message here isn’t there… The waste collectors expect to see large mounds of waste in big bins and large bulging bags, that’s why they thought our offering was too small to bother with, or that it was something other than waste.

It gives me a small wry smile when I think of the days when forgetting to put the bins out was a major setback. I would panic on some Wednesdays as I shoved the last nights tins and food boxes into the already overflowing waste bins and dash out to catch the collections. Forgetting to put the bins out was a sure way to get a bad night’s sleep, just knowing I HAD to be up early to make the kerbside collections.

Not any more, our minuscule pack of clean plastic is no longer a big deal and our old galvanised dustbin has truly become redundant. I’m even thinking of using it for something else like a garden incinerator.
Mmm, little lonely meets old big lonely.

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  1. Mrs Green says:

    hehe. It was a very interesting experience, I have to admit. And I LOVE your vision of a transit van for rubbish collection – wouldn’t that be awesome. Maybe it’s not too far away……

    Your final paragraphs bought back some memories and it made me realise just how far we have come. I remember lying awake in bed at silly o’clock because I knew I had to get you up to put out the bin the following morning. Not getting the rubbish out in time was a real catastrophe in those days. Funny how we’ve managed to move on from that one in six short weeks.

    It’s official then – producing less waste is good for your stress levels and ensures a good nights sleep 😀

  2. That’s awesome…way to go, guys!

  3. Mr Green says:

    LOL… yep, I forgot those god ol’ bad ol bin-days ’till I wrote this post. I have to say that taking responsibility for recycling and managing your own household waste IS an excellent lifestyle choice and brings you all together in a common purpose.

  4. Hooray…I think you should send this photo to the Citizen and ask whether your binmen were on a random strike after all. It’d make a great story that would get to the heart of the issue and give everyone a jolly good laugh at the same time ;-D

  5. Adriana says:

    ah…we have the same “problem” Our little plastic bag of trash that we produce every 3 to 4 weeks isn’t big enough for the waste collectors to notice and I would come home and find our trash right where I left it while the waste PILES of other people were cleared. From then on we had to sneak our little waste onto the neighbors huge pile. I often fantasize how great it would be if people with more garbage paid extra fees for the pick up or people with less garbage got some sort of tax break…

  6. Jen says:

    That is hilarious! I love the picture. So sad and lonely. And it’s even brightly packaged as if to try to draw attention to itself.

  7. In response to Adriana, we do have a (fairly new) system here in Vancouver where you pay more for producing more garbage. You pay for a bin that is one of about 5 sizes, ranging from 75L to over 200. (Why you would need such a large one, I don’t know). Anyway, you pay a rate based on your bin size.

  8. Mrs Green says:

    Adriana – welcome to the site! It’s always lovely to see a new face amongst our readers. Interesting that you have the same issue as us. I must admit, Mr green and I were talking about a similar thing the other day with regards to a pay-as-you-throw idea and we were worried that people might start putting their rubbish in someone else’s bin to avoid charges, or worse still, might start fly-tipping.
    I hadn’t thought, of course, about the most straight forward answer which is how Jen’s area are doing things – to be based on the size of your bin. Doh!
    Even 75 litres would be way above our requirements now though!

  9. Abigail says:

    Great achievement! We’ve the in-laws with us for a month so are producing a bit more than usual but will use you guys as inspiration once we’re back on track.

  10. Mrs Green says:

    Hi Abigail, great to see you. I’m really looking forward to hearing about all your progress. Are your in-laws interested in this at all or are you just working around them as much as you can?

  11. theothermrsgreen says:

    You need to make a sign (wooden) and attach it to the fence with a big arrow pointed downwards saying “Rubbish, please take me”!

    I have just re-stumbled across your site. I found it a while back and really enjoyed it (including buying Onya bags and the sandwich wrap – brill invention) but found it through lots of links and couldn’t find it again – until now!

    I am amazed at what you have achieved so far and what you intend to achieve. It’s really given me an incentive to do the best I can. We are down to 1.5 black sacks a week (family of four) from 2-3 since I started having my organic fruit/veg and other foodstuffs delivered (use a greencone like a bokashi bin) but I now recognise we could do MASSES more. We are really lucky that our local Council is full-on with recycling with kerbside collections every week and fortnightly for garden waste.

    Good luck – you’re in my favs now so I won’t lose you again!

  12. Mrs Green says:

    Hi theothermrsgreen!
    Great name LOL! I’m glad you’ve found us again; it’s so frustrating when you can’t find a site you’re looking for.
    We love the Onya bags too and the wrap-n-mat is such a wonderful idea.
    It sounds like your own challenge of reducing your rubbish is going really well; you’ve virtually halved it, which is wonderful. I’m glad we’ve given you the incentive to do more; what step do you think you’ll do next?

  13. theothermrsgreen says:

    Hope you don’t mind the name – it really is my surname and the nicknames I usually use on forums were already taken!

    Next steps – well, I work in a school so I’ve got a few weeks off now so I am going to really concentrate on getting the packaging down so when I’m back working fulltime in Sept I will have some measures in place – if you see what I mean ie do some baking/freezing, thinking more about where I need to shop to cut the package waste.
    Investing in some glass storage instead of plastic etc etc
    I will keep logging on for ideas!

  14. Mrs Green says:

    Hi theothermrsgreen,

    I don’t mind at all; I find it amusing (and if I want to go away on holiday I could leave you in charge and perhaps no one would notice LOL!)

    It sounds like you have set yourself a great summer holiday challenge. Definitely thinking ahead to those times when convenience kicks in (which is usually when we’re tired, as you will woefully read about tomorrow) is a great one. Filling up your freezer for such times is an excellent solution and it’s something I need to do more of.

    I had a look through my freezer the other day and it is full of things in (non recyclable) plastic packaging from my pre ‘zero waste’ days.

    It sounds like you are already ahead of the game. Have fun and do share your experiences with us 🙂

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