Sunday, 25 September 2011

Liberal guilt (or 'Why, oh why did I throw that plastic bag in the bin?')

Hi any and all of you who might have found your way here.

The move is still in progress, sort of. I've got most of the necessary stuff, but still need to get more and have been out walking up and down streets looking for jobs.

I've been thinking the last few weeks, because I've not got much else to do, about how far is reasonable to expect people to go in terms of recycling, reusing etc. In my current situation, I have no counter-top box for food waste because for whatever reason, my normally excellent local council hasn't sent me one yet. For all my food waste then, I've lined a plastic bag with newspaper and been putting peelings, and leftovers in there to eventually put in my building's communal food waste bin outside.

Now I know lots of people who wouldn't bother. They wouldn't want the possible smell, or the hassle of any drips of food-waste tea that escape the bag. But for me, it just seems like the obvious thing to do. My waste bag (which thankfully hadn't started smelling) was half full so I took it out to empty it. I was left with an empty, dirty carrier bag. Which after a moment's thought I threw into the large general rubbish dumpster. It's been playing on my mind whether I should have held onto it and rinsed it out to use it again. The more I've been thinking on it the more I feel like that's what I should have done. I think when I go home I'm going to grab it out of the dumpster (which was full so it's on the top - I'm not going dumpster diving for a carrier bag) and wash it out and save it to use again. I hate that I have any plastic bags in my house right now, but I've not got my hefty-reusable bags with me at the moment either.

Anyway, to actually make a clear and concise point here: was I wrong to throw the bag away? Is it reasonable to expect people to clean and reuse dirty (with food waste, not like dog mess or something) bags when the only effort is running water and hanging it over the bath to dry? How far does or should the normal social expectation go in that sort of situation?

My major thoughts on the topic are to do with the fact plastic bags are awful for the environment, use up oil (especially important in our time of nearing peak oil) and the fact that I threw away something that could have been useful to me at least several more times.

OK, I'm now wracked with guilt. Even if I had to dumpster dive I would get that bag back now.

Hopefully I'll be back again soon. For now, take care.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Upping Roots (or moving 200 miles is hard without a moving van)

So although I didn't say officially anything about posting regularly, or specifically on Sundays, that was what I was hoping to do. That got buggered up already because I'm in the middle of moving back to Manchester, where I graduated from university a couple of months ago, from London, where my parents live. Oh well.

I graduated from university in June and had originally hoped to start working at a bar that said they would give me a call as soon as all their student staff left for summer. I guess their student staff decided they'd rather work all summer than go home and be fed and housed by their parents. Long story short, I didn't find a job in time to be able to stay so I had to move back in with my parents until I could find a job and move back to Manchester, where I planned to live with my wholesome Irish boyfriend.

Anyway, I found a job, in London, which will cover rent and all that lark so WIB and I went on an intense flat hunt and found one... with a nice size kitchen counter under a south facing window, perfect for growing things indoors. Plus, as an additional sign this was the flat for us, there was a house plant there that had been abandoned by the former tenant. We adopted him and named him Charlie.

So that's what I've been up to the last week, which is why there's no post on the ethics of homesteading, I've been too busy moving and enjoying the comfort of a bedroom with no bed as it hasn't been delivered yet. Oh, and to top it all off I can't afford a moving van to move all the stuff in my parents' shed up to the flat yet, so it's going to be in stages as I travel to and from London each week for work.*

Oh aaaand I've found a florist that also randomly stocks small chilli plants. Let the indoor suburban homesteading commence.

*I realise it's mad to be commuting to work two hundred miles from where you live each week, but I'm just going to chalk it up to the same spirit (read insanity) that makes me want to homestead. I'm still going to have to stay at my folks place a few nights a week until I find work up North, but at least it's a step in the right direction.
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