Azure Jane Lunatic (azurelunatic) wrote,
Azure Jane Lunatic

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Garbage Out

When I was living in my parents' house, we had to sort the trash. This wasn't your standard "recycle this, toss that" sort of sorting, this was a definitely Alaskan sort of sorting.

First there was the chicken bin. Anything edible (well, that the chickens and geese would consider edible) went in there. It was an old large yoghurt tub, generally, and it got replaced after it got too beat up to be used.

Next was the Bucket. As this house had Alaskan plumbing (home-built, and not entirely finished), there was no easy way to dispose of liquid garbage. In a fully plumbed house, you'd pour the glass of slightly off milk down the sink. In the Alaskan house, you dump it in the Bucket, and then the Bucket is in turn dumped -- originally, outside, but when the bathroom was completed, it would be flushed down the toilet.

Anything that could reasonably be burned was put into the Burning Garbage, which was generally a paper grocery bag stood next to the other garbage can. Paper, wood, some plastic (but not too much), anything that would help light the wood stove. No metal. No glass. Nothing that would make an evil mess in the ashes. Since we had wood heat already, it made sense to not consign to the landfill that which could help heat our home. Obsolete homework. Junk mail. Paper towels. Dead rags. Lots of tissue, in snot season. Anything that would burn cleanly.

Anything, that is, except for thin cardboard. That went to the gerbils, when we had gerbils. There had been, at one point, a recycling business in town, called Sandy's Recycling. That business went under, but as one of the gerbils was named Sandy, we thought that giving the cardboard to the gerbils and calling it Sandy's Recycling was hilarious.

All the rest went into the other garbage can, and the bags of garbage were taken to the nearest waste transfer station -- living outside of town, there was no garbage collection service, and we had to transport our own trash a fifteen minute drive to the dumpsters where the FNSB garbage trucks would finally escort them to the landfill.

So much work that went into the garbage. So little that was actually thrown out. I think that my current household throws out seven times what my childhood household threw out, just by not being in a position to burn the paper garbage.
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