Once-a-year Garbage Disposal

in Garbage

It has been said, perhaps rightfully so, that concurrent with the Information Age is Garb-age. Our world seems ankle-deep in discarded or useless material, waste, trash, junk, litter, refuse, rubbish, or scrap, that they have invaded many places on the planet that  normally are free of them.


The so-called Great Pacific Garbage Patch, also described as the Pacific Trash Vortex, in the North Pacific Ocean, estimated larger than the continental United States, is the latest sensational shocker exposed by the media. The Patch is characterized by exceptionally high concentrations of plastics, sludge and other debris that have been trapped by the currents of the North pacific A similar patch of floating plastic debris is found in the Atlantic Ocean.


Environmental pollution is a global concern, and each and every one of us inhabitants on this earth must look for ways to possibly help alleviate the problem. Mine is sharing with the general public why the garbage trucks collects trash from me, at most, just once in every year, consisting of solid non-biodegradable materials like bottle caps, tin cans, aluminum foil, rusted galvanized iron, dilapidated appliance, decayed clothes, deteriorated rubber shoes, broken egg shells, and the like.


First, I must state my particular conditions that contribute to this rather unique experience. I live alone. I buy groceries twice a week and then only the basic regular consumables, mostly personal hygiene products (soap, shampoo, lotion, mousse, toothpaste, rubbing alcohol, etc.) and instant or perk-up beverage and food (coffee, milk, sugar, noodles, cold-cuts, salt, etc.). I usually eat out, as I work nights as a technical service representative in a local call-center, and very rarely have to cook, even on week-ends.


What I have in my home, a wood-stove, is possibly the single contributory reason I seldom have much trash, at least not the combustible kind. My fuel comes chiefly from tree cast-off (bark, branches, twigs, leaves, etc.) from my backyard trees (coconut, guava, star apple) and scrapped form lumber (approximately a cord of wood sold to my father 5 years ago and still only half-consumed). As fire starter, I use those paper and plastic stuff that can not be reused or recycled or simply given away to be reused or recycled or sold.


As a chemical engineer, I am aware that burning trash releases substances which others consider to be air polluting; however, I also recognize that these substances have far less effect on the atmosphere than those given off by the burning of fossil fuels or the derivatives from their industrial processing. By conservative reckoning, my way is the lesser evil of the two choices.


Granting that the conditions are rather extraordinary, a conclusion may still be reached: I have very little garbage because I generate very little, and the very little generated undergoes complete segregation. A corollary must be made: only the ultimately incapable of further use is thrown away:  to the fire if flammable, to the garbage truck if not.


It is the little things, often overlooked, that oftentimes provide insight into solutions for the big problems. My hope is that my personal story may inspire some to look deeper.

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Mindrich Velos has 1 articles online

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Once-a-year Garbage Disposal

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This article was published on 2010/10/21