Reducing my Environmental Footprint

Last week I got up one morning at 8.30am. An astonishing feet considering it was my holiday week, but stuff had to be done. Most prominently my recycle stash, which had been growing and growing and nearly outgrew the little storage space underneath the stairs. So that had to go.

It’s my little contribution to the environment. I like to think I generate an exceptionally small amount of rubbish. I only put out my garbage maybe twice a month, my veggie skins and other organics go to my compost heap, and the rest are horded and separated and recycled. *Patonmyback* But still, I’m such a environmentally conscious consumer (haha), that I only have to do this once a year. Ok, once in 8 months at least. I chucked out plastic bags today that my mother had left here on her visit in November 2006 (!!).

So the better part of this morning was spent moving the stuff from underneath the stairs into my barren, furniture-less living room to be neatly sorted and packed in the boot of my car. My MyVi is not a small car and I managed to cram the boot full of stuff.

Number 1 waste: Plastic

Clearly the majority of my waste is plastic. It’s not wonder considering where I am. Here in Kota Kinabalu, and I’m sure the rest of Malaysia, the people are plastic crazy. For instance, you buy noodles that are already individually packed in plastic wrappers, with another plastic wrapper that holds the 6 packets together. When you go to the check out, they will put it in another plastic bag, and if you buy this small item with other items, the plastic bag will go into a bigger plastic bag.

We had this problem in South Africa, then one the day Government said “now you pay” and from then on people had to pay for their plastic bags. At first there was outrage, there were screams and threats from unions and people though the price of living was going to sky-rocket. But props for the government, because the positive impact on the environment was so great that it immediately shut the critics up. Virtually overnight you could see the environment cleansing itself as people no longer careless threw away the expensive plastic bags they had to buy and reuse. It was so effective, word quickly spread up the African continent and other countries wanted to know how to work this miracle solution.

Malaysia is a little more reluctant to embrace such a radical change, but I already have two of these green bags, reusable strong, fibre plastic bags slowly being introduced, which I take along to put my groceries in. I still get strange stares from the cashiers when I decline to take a plastic bag when I buy only 1 small item, but it’s a small price to pay.

Other Junk

Second on my list is my humble pile of paper – made up mostly of random newspapers, old tenants of this house’s un-redirected mail and promo magazines (PROMO, not PORNO), lobbed into my driveway in the morning, where, during the day, it gets rained on, dried out and pages fuse together making it’s unreadable anyway. The rest is a random collection of tin cans, drink cans, cookie tins and odd bits of junk.

I took them to the friendly neighborhood recycle centre. Sure, it looks like tent by the side of the road, and I secretly wonder how much of my stuff will actually really be recycled and how much of it will just end up in the river, but at least I take it to them. I got a whopping RM7 for it this time, a whole 60cents more than my previous tour. Obviously I’m not doing it for the money.

If, at this rate, I keep on collection RM7, it will only take a gazilion years before my recycling efforts will save me enough money to buy a digital camera.

Sigh. At least the environment is cleaner.

As for the exceptionally poor quality of the images you might see on this blog; an update of equipment is direly needed.

Published by Yaku

Yaku is a brewer, baker, and semi-retired trouble maker (semi-retired from trouble-making that is). Although he believes anything is possible, he is nevertheless frequently stupefied by his world and the people in it.

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