Thursday 30 May 2013

a green trash fling

Who would have thought that the blog post I write about the week I move from Australia to the USA would be about trash?

Well, I suppose I was starting to understand the amount of trash we accumulate as I was separating my apartment into piles of 'Keep!' 'Donate!' 'Sell!' and 'Toss!'.  That toss pile grew larger than I'd like to admit, but if an item wasn't of sentimental value and wasn't in good enough condition to donate, it was heading to the landfill - I wasn't about to send old chipped mixing bowls and a leaky kettle to America.

When all was said and done, we had about 3 large boxes of rubbish and other random bits and pieces like old mops and lamps and our mattress to dispose of responsibly. So after handing in our keys and saying farewell to Manly-town, we hopped in GoGet's Bob the Van, loaded him up with our trash, and made our way to Kimbriki Resource Recovery Centre.

We weren't the only ones with stuff to get rid of!

So many different sections (I didn't have time to visit the eco-garden,
but it looked cool from the car!)

At first, I was terribly excited. This huge facility is located among gorgeous bushland in Sydney's northern beaches, and there are sections for safely disposing of oil, bulk recycling, electronic waste collection, and furniture collection.

My hubby taking our e-waste to the collection site.

Then we drove around to the rubbish pile to fling our waste onto a pile of more rubbish (the least green flinging I've done in a long while!). I hadn't expected to feel so blue. It was the strangest feeling, when we pulled up to that pile my heart felt heavy and I couldn't even help my hubby throw the stuff out of the van. I made an excuse that I was cold, but really it was so depressing to see all that excess stuff in a massive pile among the natural beauty of the bushland. Kimbriki staff go through much of it, to try and recover any bits they can recycle, but coming face to face with that pile was like consumer society giving me a big ole kick in the gut.

So depressing . . .

Next we drove over to the pile of mattresses. Wow. I'd made some phone calls about getting ours 'refurbished', it was fairly new, but truthfully it was all a bit too hard, even for this greenie. So I had to be content to bring it to Kimbriki knowing they will at least take out the metal to be recycled.

One of two mattress piles.

All in all, that final moving day was a stark reminder of all this stuff we accumulate, and real food for thought as I start to set up house in America.

Remember these! I was so excited when my Uni put them
all throughout the computer lab at the library.

And now I'm in idyllic Hawaii, visiting my Dad and his family and enjoying a bit of R&R in paradise. (Yes, I'm totally spoiled. Thanks for living here, Dad!)

Yesterday we went on a hike along the northwest side of Oahu. Shortly into our walk my hubby spotted a plastic bag on the ground so picked it up to throw away later, and I soon found two more. Next thing you know, my gorgeous little brother and sister were helping us collect rubbish all along the coastal walk. Sadly, there was so much that we had to limit what we collected to plastic, rubber, metal and aluminum, leaving paper (hoping it will disintegrate) and glass (unsafe for little hands to collect).

My little brother putting some rubbish in my hubby's bag.

By the end of our walk we had three heavy plastic bags full of rubbish and recycling. We are happy to do our small part, but it is still so sad to see so much trash around the island. I am a big fan of the Take 3 campaign in Oz, encouraging people to take 3 pieces of rubbish every time they leave the beach, but sometimes it pays to take more than three - especially when the first three things you collect are plastic bags!

The garbage collectors! I'm sporting my Aussie hat with pride!

Hawaii was the first state to ban plastic bags throughout the entire state, and it's easy to see why it's so important here, but the law doesn't come into full effect until July 2015. I'm hoping the retailers start transitioning early, so next time I come down to visit the family I see fewer plastic bags flying around the beach and into the ocean.

Well, I've had quite a tiring week, physically and emotionally. I'm off to the beach to enjoy my last full day in Hawaii before flying to California tomorrow.  I'll send you updates on what green things I find in San Diego, and a lot from the Sustainable Brands conference the first week of June!



  1. Great Blog! We too love green environment! Thanks.

    1. Thank you! And thanks for reading the blog! xx