Saturday, December 10, 2011
Fritz's Center is an informal, warm place sheathed inside with classic weathered New England weathered barn board. It does not have a maintenance staff these days. When a group comes in for a weekend, Monday morning finds the two of us down there first thing to do the clean up. The first things I hit are the trash and the recycling.
It used to be all trash but when I moved up here full time and started helping him, I began to notice the amount of paper towel, cardboard and other paper products that were going into the dumpster. So although it's not always the most pleasant job in the world, I go through all the bathroom trash (99.8% of which is just used paper towels) to eliminate non-recyclable material and, by the end of a weekend with 25 to 30 people in residence, I usually end up with two well-filled garbage bags of prime paper recycling.
At the house we process everything possible to avoid producing garbage. Despite very high property taxes in New Hampshire (everybody thinks it's dirt cheap to live here because there's no sales tax and no state income tax but you have to pay for services somehow) it turns out that garbage pick up is on a pay as you go basis. We have to purchase town insignia garbage bags, packaged in three sizes, at the local super market. There are something like a half dozen of the small bags, the size we use in our kitchen waste basket, sold for $7.50. Pick-up is on Tuesday mornings. We recycle all our paper, cans, bottles, metals and plastics, including used aluminum foil, cling wrap and approved styrofoam, and we compost all our vegetable kitchen waste. We put out a bag no more often than once a month or sometimes five weeks.
I wish it were possible to take a broken appliance to a repair center and have the one part that's failed replaced without hearing that the repair would cost more than a new appliance. I wish people would consider handkerchiefs that can be laundered and used for years rather than boxes and boxes of tissues that are gone in days. I wish garbage-fired power plants could be developed with a clean enough effluent to not increase pollution and global warming, that could produce enough electricity to reduce the burning of fossil fuels.
If I can I try to eliminate as much plastic as I can, going for metal, china, wood, paper -but not plastic.