Yesterday I found this flyer in my postbox at home. Since November or thereabouts last year, our suburb has been participating in the City of Cape Town’s ‘Think Twice’ recycling campaign, which has also been rolled out in Melkbosstrand, Bloubergstrand and Parklands.
We get one large see-through plastic bag a week, in which we put anything that can be recycled: paper, flattened and folded cardboard, glass and plastic bottles and jars, metal tins and drink cans, as well as foil-lined tetra packs like liquifruit containers. We put this out with the normal garbage on the day when the Council’s garbage collection lorry comes around. A second truck fetches the recyclables, and leaves another big see-through bag in our postbox or tied to our gate.
In practice, this has not always worked so well. Sometimes, the recycling truck didn’t come at all, or it only arrived the next day, when the South Easter had already scattered everything around the leafy streets.
And early morning on every rubbish collection day, a brigade of trolley-people descends on our roads to pick through our rubbish. It’s awful to think that somebody must be so hungry and desperate that they will dig through all the garbage that’s accumulated for a week in the hope that they will find a hidden treasure.
But what really pees me off intensely is that they rip open all the small plastic bags and empty them out into the bin, so it ends up with this disgusting smelling foul liquid all down the sides and at the bottom, which I then have to clean myself. Yeugh.
Quite apart from that, since we have been recycling, there is never anything ‘valuable’ in the trash anyway. In addition to the recyclables collected by the Council, all glass bottles, newspapers and magazines go into the big round orange or green bins that are scattered around our area. Anything organic – food scraps, vegetable peels, garden waste (except for weeds) – goes onto the compost heap.
It was quite an eye-opening realisation to see how much of our rubbish actually isn’t rubbish at all, but a potentially valuable resource!