Friday, April 20, 2007

A Tale of Patched Drawers

Do you know what I’m starting to hate? I’m starting to hate recycling. It used to be a buzz back in the day when it was just us sandal-wearing, patchwork-skirted, fuzzy-haired, hippy types did it. But now that it’s become a moral duty I despise it.

When those that lord over us were giving out the red recycling bins we didn’t get one. This miffed me and I phoned and moaned until I was given two of them. I rued it that very first day when the delivery man explained to me that the bins had tracking devices in the lids. That statement made me feel very queasy. Nevertheless I persevered and diligently filled the bins with bottles and plastic containers. There were explanatory leaflets but I ignored those. I do remember reading that they’d take tins but that they had to be washed. Yeah! I’d look well using my expensive hot water to wash out stinking tins so I continued to throw those in the bin. And you are supposed to separate everything out but I never bothered. So yesterday when I collected the bins from the bottom of the lane I found that the collectors had scrawled plastic on one and glass on the other and I was raging. Telling me what to do! I think I might take those red boxes a mile or two down the road and throw them over the hedge. I could always claim that vandals stole them from me.

Recycling is a load of shite. Recently we had a pavement built on part of our road which necessitated a lot of tree felling. Instead of one lorry hauling the trunks away in just a few loads there was a huge shredding machine hired to shred the trees. Needless to say it took days, used vast quantities of diesel to run the shredder, belched out black reek and took very many lorries very many days to carry it all away. What good did that do the environment? And of course as the whole enterprise was being funded by the council the cost of it was coming out of our pockets.

Then there’s our friend who works for one of those companies who trade in recycled clothes. I’m pretty sure that’s a total scam. They set up these big collecting bins and hint that it’s for charity and maybe charity does get just enough to keep them from paying the full whack of tax. Anyways the majority of the donated garments end up in places like Africa and Eastern Europe and obviously this is going to have a detrimental effect on local clothing and textile production and all the poor Kenyan and Romanian kids have to dress like spides.

So sod modern day recycling. It’s a con. It’s not like it was in Pearlie’s day - as I was thinking this evening when I was hanging out her patched candy stripe flannelette sheets. She used to patch and darn everything - sheets, towels, face flannels, tea towels, her aprons and even her knickers. Really old and worn out beyond redemption stuff would be kept to patch other things. Recently she was very cross with me after I threw out two pairs of her patched panties. I explained to her that I had to do it in case the carers thought we were spending all of her pension on drink and drugs and wouldn’t even buy her a pair of dacint drawers!


Anonymous said...

The promised interesting post is posted.

Zoe said...

You sure the council funded the path? Normally it is the Roads Service that deal with roadside paths. Recycling isn't necessarily the the answer to all our rubbish woes but surely it should make you think about trying to reduce the amount of stuff you buy in the first place and all the needless packaging. I think recycling is a positive thing, I wish more people did it instead of being lazy and throwing an easily rinsable can in the bin. I also wish that I could be sure that my carefully rinsed, sorted and squashed recyclables were actually being recycled.

Nelly said...

Point taken. It would have been the Roads Service. Still our money funding the project.

My argument is that most so-called recycling is not properly thought out. Why should individuals bear the cost of washing cans when it might be done more economically in bulk? Why should entrepreneurs gather our cast off clothing and flood poor countries with them? Apart from our own rag & bone men becoming jolly rich on the back of it, its only advantage is making a few second hand clothes traders in Africa wealthy. And it has the disadvantage of whole nations horribly dressed in last season's 'designer' sports wear.

You know if we really got into recycling the whole economy would be at risk. That's why they're got their sticky fingers all over the recycling thing. But government will only be able to make/save money out of one aspect of it - and that will be taxing/fining us for not doing it.

Zoe said...

There's part of the problem - the fact that people here feel the need to go out and buy the hideous 'designer' sportswear. Clothes are now seen as disposable. People no longer make do and mend as Pearlie does - though patched knickers is taking it too far!

ejh said...

Nelly, you're clearly hanging out with the wrong sort of people. Recycling, especially when carried out under threat of financial penalty, can only be a Good Thing.

Never mind that it's only financially viable because of massive government spending on it; never mind that a fair whack of what is collected as recyclable is then placed into landfill; never mind that it's getting tracking devices put into bin lids.

I used to be quite happy recycling loads of things. Until it became, all of a sudden, a 'social responsibility' and not a sensible thing to do. Now I get a smile on my face at every document that the city council send scolding me for not washing my baked bean tins. Or for (horror of horrors) putting an envelope with a plastic screen on it into the blue bin.

ganching said...

I'm with Zoe on this one. I fear you have been hanging out with the flat-earthers too much. There are still a lot of things wrong with the whole recycling business and it will take some time for some of the more ridiculous aspects of it to be sorted. In the long run what it requires is a bit of a cultural shift in the way that people behave and think.

Personally I'm quite happy for people's behaviour to be regulated in certain ways. It's not so long since large numbers of people thought it was fine to drink and drive.

What's wrong with social responsibility?

Completely unrelated but I've just read something in the LRB about the new Tories which I thought was really sweet. It relates to a meeting of the Kent University
Conservative Association. One of the students is speaking.

"'You can't even use stereotypes any more', this 18-year-old said. 'The way the party is these days, if you say women can't drive, they turn round and label you a sexist.'"


Ronni said...

Nelly, I know exactly what you mean. I did a lot more recycling when it was sort of...well...subversive. Here, the government doesn't get into it a lot (yet); the garbage company charges extra per month to pick up recyclables, and there are folks who swear that, when they do pick it up, the green bins get emptied in with the rest.

We have a recycling center quite near us, but it's a private enterprise, and run by Christians and they hover to see what you're chucking. when it's 40 vodka bottles for every milk carton, I sense a certain disapproval. Especially when they hand out religious tracts.

In other words, recycling is not yet mandatory.

I think we are supposed to wash the cans, too. I can't see why the food residue wouldn't just burn off in the processing.

I do try to use less packaging, and do reuse all the grocery bags, etc, but it has been long and long since I darned a sock!

jazzthefunk said...

I it is the Road Service which would be to blame for that, It would have ended up on my desk for auditing. Hope all is well, is perlie ok?? my regards around.

Mudflapgypsy said...

A quick rinse under the cold tap straight after you've used the contents of the can and you are done, as they say. Works for me.

AS for the tracking device in the wee red box. I was incensed when I found out that the F**kers had done that. Needless to say it found it's way into a flattened can and got, erm, recycled. Hmmph.

I have been onsite at the charity outfit who get our recycled stuff and it doesn't go to landfill. AS for other recyclers...I cannot comment.

Nelly said...

The vast majority of our cans contained dog and cat food. Takes more than a quick rinse to clean them.

Zoe said...

Dogs would lick them clean for you.

Nelly said...

Okay! Okay! I'll recycle tins. Youse have talked me into it. Peer pressure does it every time.

gan ching said...

Anyway you missed out your funniest line from this story. As I recall when I was at home and you were giving out about Pearlie's patched drawers what you said was:

"I don't want to be seen hanging out some deperate Dickensian garment on the washing line!"

Nelly said...

Always an ear for the literary reference.

Freshblade said...

Well, I was relating this to my mother and she said you had no business throwing out Pearlie's drawers, just 'cause they were patched. "As long as they're clean, sure it doesn't matter!" says Mammy.

Nelly said...

I know. I'm full of airs and graces I get from my mother's side of the family.

My father's side (his mother came from Feystown) would have been all on for the patched drawers.