Tuesday, 24 June 2008

The Bin Monitor`

Have I ever properly introduced you to my eldest son?


Perhaps it's now time. After all, he deserves a proper introduction.

He's six years old and in three months time he'll be seven.

Thanks to his teacher as well as life in the Almost Average Household, he knows a thing or two about recycling.

And he certainly likes to do things properly...

...which is why he's become our self-appointed bin monitor, indeed our very own Jedi Knight of the waste stream.

The problem is he sees things as black or white and doesn't yet understand the grey bits in the middle.

And because of this he delights in nothing more than throwing around false allegations.

Like the day he told me I was bad at recycling!

Yes, that's right! My six year old darling has accused me of being terrible at recycling... Yes me...! Oh dear, I can see the headline in our local rag now....

Zero Waste Woman Branded Fake - own son dobs her in.

In my defence and to uphold my reputation he has thrown this accusation a few days AFTER the bin men had been and emptied our well-endowed recycling bin.

He peers in, sees it's empty and tells me I'm crap!

How to feel offended eh. After all my efforts!

So that the rumour doesn't get out of hand, I now show him the contents of our recycling bin BEFORE it gets collected.

But all I get now is:

"That's better mummy"

As if there was a problem in the first place.

Can you believe it! I'm being monitored by a six year old.

If that's not bad enough there was another scandal to hit the Almost Average Household this weekend.

Yep. This weekend I was on the receiving end of another one!

"Mummy, do you really want to kill more trees?"

I can see it now: Zero Waste Woman - Tree Murderer!

Where did this one come from?

Well this time... he'd only gone and peered in the compost bin.

Is nowhere safe? I've certainly got nothing to hide but if I were six, the last place I'd want to poke my nose would be in the compost.

But then, I'm not a member of the intergalactic bin police am I?

You see, as he was conducting his investigations, he'd discovered a combination of paper bags, some newspaper and an expired party invitation all mixed up with the fruit peelings.

Apparently, by diverting the paper products from the recycling waste stream I am now responsible for more trees having to be cut down...

OMG - I can't take this kind of responsibility. My shoulders aren't broad enough!

All I was doing was balancing the biological nature of my compost.

How selfish do I feel now? My compost versus the world's trees!

How I wish things were as simple as a six year old sees them.

However, he did get me thinking. Although he doesn't quite yet understand the balance of materials needed to make good compost, he did have a point about the paper products. I happily throw in all sorts of things included toilet roll tubes, paper bags, pieces of paper, newspaper, thin card etc, primarily diverting them from the recycling bin.

The compost bin probably doesn't need this amount of paper and he is right, I am diverting it away from being recycled into other products.

And I wonder how many others are doing the same.

Perhaps the only way to find out is to hire out my six year old monitor to the local council. He can go on an undercover mission, tell people off and report back accordingly.

I'm sure he'd be good at it.

He might even be able to help prevent possible riots over waste.

But I think I could put him to better use on the home-front.

Hmmm. Yes he could come in handy.

Instead of following me around, I need someone to keep a closer eye on his three year old brother, otherwise known as the junior saboteur, who loves nothing better than contaminating the recycling.

And then there's the King of Declutter, Mr A himself.

Aha...now that's where the Bin Monitor will be of most use. Mr A needs a shadow, especially when he's in the middle of one of his decluttering episodes.

So, perhaps my little Bin Monitor is a good thing after all.

One thing's for certain. He's got a future ahead of him and at this rate it has to be in waste.



Unknown said...

Here's an idea: lend the Junk Jedi to Gordon Brown for a few hours. Then he can tell Brown where he's going wrong with...well, everything really!

Karin said...

Perhaps there is something of a 6-year-old child in me, but I have wondered about this myself.

As far as I understand it there is no shortage of paper to recycle, but I am influenced by the fact that 15 years or so ago there wasn't much of a market for recycled paper.

However, recycled writing and printer paper is much more available than it was, some books and magazines are made with a proportion of recycled paper and some businesses are using recycled paper for traditional communications.

All the same, I suspect there is not likely to be a shortage of recycled paper if people are putting some of it in their compost bins, and if we put too much in our compost will suffer.

Also, recycling uses energy, so as a rule it is better to reuse or buy less in the first place.

It would be interesting, though, to be able to find out enough facts and figures to be sure your son is overly concerned, or to discover that every last scrap much be recycled to save the planet's trees, if that is the case.

Almost Mrs Average said...

Hi Despairing - LOL. Love the term Junk Jedi and I am sure he would be great at No 10. Talking of Mr B, I once wrote to his residence asking for a poke around his bins. No-one took me up on the offer...hmmm...can't see why ;-D

Hi Karin - Oh I always think it's good to hold on to child-like curiosity. I know I've not gone much beyond that.

Anyway, you did get me wondering and I've done a little bit of searching. I haven't had much chance to make head or tail of them yet though. However, these links look very interesting:






Karin said...

Thanks Mrs A (almost). It all looks a bit technical, but the first site seemed to be saying recycled paper is good for the environment all round, and then there was a suggestion that paper is shipped to the Far East for processing. I thought it a bit ambiguous, but on the Current Issues page it said, 'The cost of collecting and transporting recovered paper remains economic (particularly back shipping costs to the Far East)'.

If this is the case, then it can't be economic as far as carbon emissions are concerned.

Almost Mrs Average said...

Hi Karin - thanks for raising those issues. I can't wait to have a proper read of both sites. It's interesting re shipping stuff like this over to the far-east. I'd like to think that ships are not making a special journey for the process and that exported paper is being sent in containers which would otherwise be empty. However, what effects on fuel usage that would have I don't know. Re shipping, I read somewhere that cargo ships are now being encouraged to slow down their speed to save fuel, leading to extended delivery schedules. Interesting eh!

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