Tuesday, October 16, 2007

You Can't Fight Blog Action

My Neighbour - by Pants

Today is Blog Action Day.Thanks to J at And Another Thing for alerting House of Pants to the occasion. As a child, I was into conservation and wildlife. All children are. There's one of the great untapped resources of our time. I've always loved water fowl. Mr Heron has lived across the water from me as long as I've been here. He's a good neighbour, save the occasional dispute with my dear pals the coots. They simply don't see eye to eye on the subject of infanticide. Different strokes for different folks and all that.

I’m interested in all aspects of protecting the environment, as you know. By that, I do not mean buying food that I don’t eat and shoving it into one of the ridiculous plastic ‘organic waste’ recycling dooberries that Hackney Council consider cutting edge. I have news for the environmental genii at Hackney Town Hall, organic matter breaks down – quite quickly if the bananas at the bottom of my fridge are any indication. You do not need to collect it up separately.

The only reason to stop people from putting food scraps in the bins is that it smells awful for a bit before it starts rejuvenating the earth. It’s not really entering into the spirit of more responsible, sustainable waste management in the long term if your solution to garbage-day pong is a five-litre container that simply adds to the street clutter, is untenably expensive to collect and has no demonstrably beneficial destination. It probably just goes to the tip via a different route anyway.

Radical solution time. As a society we could ask people to buy less food so they have less to throw away. That’s a hiding to nothing en croute. As a species, we still haven’t got that feast/famine thing sorted and supermarkets would simply crank up their marketing machinery if we even thought about rejecting their two for one offers and bumper packs. They know which leg to pull. Given that there will always be some food wasted, perhaps councils could give out composting bins instead of daft little buckets.

Small bins suitable for individual households could be dispensed along with advice on what does and doesn’t constitute ‘usable organic waste’, e.g. cigarette butts, KFC chicken wing bones, chip fat and the remains of your pig-out bacon and egg breakfast No, pretty much everything else Yes. Once householders have mastered the basics of putting the right things in the little round hole, they could learn how to make the kind of potting mix they usually have to line up in B&Q for half an hour to obtain. You can almost see the carbon footprint evaporate before your eyes. No more driving to soulless retail parks to buy bags of other people’s potato peelings.

And that’s just for individuals. What if they put big communal bins on estates for the gardeners to use? Think of the cost savings. Think of the rose gardens that might spring up with the nutrients on offer, not to mention the communal vegetable patches. We might even be inspired to tear up the lazy crazy paving slabs that are still being installed where grass once thrived, despite the threat of floods that comes with global warming.

We have communal gardens at House of Pants. When I first moved here, we had herbs growing in all the beds but almost no one knew what they were, so their gradual demise has not attracted outrage of any kind. The last rosemary bush died out about three years ago. Apart from the lovely lavender at the front door, all we have now is awful gnarly brambles whose main purpose is to deter unwanted lingering. It’s green in colour but not at heart. I used to like our garden, not least of all because of the free homegrown seasoning it produced. Now it might as well be poison ivy.Something must be done before all our habitable space becomes either houses or hedges!

So Unite Fellow Bloggers and let us save the world together. Mr Heron said he'd make us a coot egg omelette if we managed it...


Janejill said...

Whenever I have a garden I will be off in a flash to get a ...I always thought it was a dubris; is it too late to change, I wonder.xx (when was the Monica Ali article ? I searched a bit on Saturday's Guardian but couldn't find it)

Dame Honoria Glossop said...

Chez Glossop we have very little kitchen waste. What we do have either goes on the compost heap or into the pig bin (it helps to have a pig farmer nearby).

That's so pants said...

Hi Jane Jill

Dubris? I thought that was the Roman name for Dover. Dooberry is the spelling that appears in the Urban Dictionary. It's one of those words I've used for years but never had to spell until now.

The Monica Ali article was in Saturday's Guardian - Review section.

Your Dameship

Wouldn't it be great if we could all genuinely send our scraps where scraps could be of some use? We never used to have these problems with wasted disposal when everyone kept hens.



Andrew said...

Good point Pants. Organic and quite a lot of other stuff breaks down naturally. Not so quickly if it is housed in a plastic bag.

Reading the Signs said...

I have never been a buyer of unnecessary Stuff and what with buying mostly local and organic don't therefore have much to throw out - and that's probably about the best I can do.

Apart from this, I love your drawing of the heron and how you've created it out of just a few lines.

That's so pants said...

Hi Andrew

Absolutely. I can't understand why my local council as done this given the paltry amount they collect and the effort required to collect it. I agree there are many reasons why organic material shouldn't be wrapped in plastic and go into land fill.

Hi Signs

Me too. One of the reasons I try not to waste anything is, when you live in a flat, it's so hard to dispose of responsibly.

Thanks. I like line drawing and have amassed quite a collection since I've been living on the canal.