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Charli Wilson
Posts: 302
Location: Derbyshire, UK
9
cat chicken urban
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At my Dads house earlier, cutting the hedge and putting the clippings in the van- I take them home to compost. The neighbour approaches and asks if I want his grass cuttings- yeh sure, you can never have too much organic matter. He gives me his wheelie bin (around here the council give you bins to put compostables in, then every 2 weeks they collect them and take them to a municipal composting facility). I put the whole thing into the van and drive home.

At home... I get the bin out- it is full of grass clippings- 32 bags of them. Every week or so for the past 32 weeks the guy has been putting his grass clippings in black plastic bin liners and putting them into this bin. The weight of the top ones was compressing the bottom, and as they composted down a bit they all fit. so I've spent 2 hours removing plastic bin liners from sludgy smelly part-composted grass. It turns out the council stopped the free composting-collection service, so the guy has just been stuffing them into this bin for 6 months. Bin liners do not compost! Why would you put garden waste in a plastic bin liner!

I will have lots of compost, but both the compost pile, and now me smell awfu-l and the effort was not worth it!
 
Dale Hodgins
garden master
Posts: 6684
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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Casie Becker
gardener
Posts: 1474
Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
116
forest garden urban
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If you live close to your father, you've just obtained a new steady supply of high quality compost material. If it didn't sit in a bin for six months it wouldn't be so pungent.
 
Cristo Balete
Posts: 428
Location: In the woods, West Coast USA
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Charli, yeah, there is an Ewwww Factor connected to garbage, dirt, yard clippings with people who aren't really into it. I had a landlady once that seemed to pride herself in having perfectly clean garbage cans, they were lined with plastic bags that were changed if the slightest sign of wear showed on them. I think the "mess" of loose grass and clippings is something they don't want to have to clean out later, especially if they see the slime and mold at the bottom. Our urban culture tells us that's slovenly yard keeping.

I used to give out free cherry tomatoes when I was selling them, and every once in a while someone would not take one because they hadn't seen it washed in front of them. A couple of times people actually asked me to get some clean water and wash it so they could watch.

Lucky you, getting a nice supply of greens for your pile!
 
Cristo Balete
Posts: 428
Location: In the woods, West Coast USA
12
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and you know, come to think of it, why are the white plastic grocery bags now illegal in some places, but the giant black garbage bags are not? There are millions more of those giant things filling up the landfills, and no one is blinking an eye about it.
 
Casie Becker
gardener
Posts: 1474
Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
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forest garden urban
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I think you underestimate how many of those white plastic garbage bags there are. I work at a grocery store in a city that recently made them illegal. We're in an area where, even before it was outlawed, it was common for people to bring their own bags. (Not the 'norm', but common) The store went through several pallets of bags every month and thousands fit in every box.

On top of that there is the 'out of sight out of mind' factor. More of these were disposed of or abandoned in ways that left them as visible litter, black bags are usually hidden away in the dump.
 
Dean Howard
Posts: 126
Location: NE ARIZONA, Zone 5B, 7K feet, 24" rain
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Cristo Balete wrote:and you know, come to think of it, why are the white plastic grocery bags now illegal in some places, but the giant black garbage bags are not? There are millions more of those giant things filling up the landfills, and no one is blinking an eye about it.


At least the black trash bags are doing what they are supposed to do... containing trash until you can get it to the dump. Years ago, someone had supposedly invented plastic cups out of potato starch, that would break down over months. Someone left their drink outside longer than that during testing (is my guess), and well, they never got to the market.

I can't wait until someone invents a bio-digestible? trash bag that breaks down easily.

White plastic bags were meant to be re-usable... Most of us didn't, and now my local FudgeMart no longer supplies them... Ooops, our fault.
 
Cristo Balete
Posts: 428
Location: In the woods, West Coast USA
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Casie, Yeah, I think they are all bad. And just because we don't see the big black bags as much, keeps them under the radar as far as to how many there are and how much damage they do to the environment. I know people who easily use 5+ a week for regular garbage and yard scraps, bags of stuff that will go to the dump. Cities require black bags at the curb for special pick-ups. I see them along the side of the road all the time as litter. I think there should be more awareness that the black bags are not okay either, and we should seriously limit them, or find other alternatives.

When I was a kid there weren't plastic bags everywhere. Things that went to the dump were balled up in old sheets or old fabric painter's tarps, or stuffed into metal garbage cans and emptied at the dump, the garbage cans taken back home, so no ancillary containers were used. It would be nice if we could return to that practice

 
David Spohn
Posts: 20
Location: Alberta, Canada
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I can't wait until someone invents a bio-digestible? trash bag that breaks down easily.


Strange thing is, biodegradable and even compostable bags were invented quite a while ago. A quick Google search reveals numerous products in this category, but they don't seem to be catching on very quickly. I wonder if it's a matter of expense.

I believe that we have the technology to almost completely replace plastic with more eco-friendly alternatives, but I suspect that they are not currently cost-competitive with plastic.

Cheers,
Dave
 
Charli Wilson
Posts: 302
Location: Derbyshire, UK
9
cat chicken urban
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All 'carrier bags' here have to be biodegradable- which just means you can't use them for long-term storage as they disintegrate into really annoying little bits of plastic. And it doesn't apply to purchased bags like bin liners.

And I'll be collecting my Dad's neighbours grass cuttings on a more weekly basis now- but only if he agrees to not put them in bin liners!
 
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