Saturday, May 14, 2011

A trip to the tip

When I was a kid, rubbish at Lord Howe was burnt or buried.  For the last 10 years, Lord Howe has had a state-of-the-art Vertical Compost Unit (VCU) which processes all of our organic waste including meat, dairy products, food scraps, green waste, cardboard, paper and sewage sludge.  The garbage has to be sorted very thoroughly – it’s one of the hardest things for guests and new staff to get used to.  Recyclable rubbish and some garbage (including nappies) are returned to the mainland on the ship every fortnight.  A visit to the tip is part of every Lord Howe bus tour. 

Over the last 10 years, the proportion of rubbish that is composted has increased – that’s the good news.  The bad news is that Lord Howe now produces much more non-recyclable rubbish than we did 10 years ago.  The reason is simple – like everyone else we now have more consumer goods and replace them more often.  We throw out our DVD players, TVs, computers and washing machines and none of these things can be recycled.  The old island tradition of saving everything in case it can be used again is dying out. 

There’s no garbage collection at Lord Howe and I spend a lot of time at the tip these days.  It should be a quick trip, but this morning it took me almost an hour.  It was raining.  I took three bins down the steps to the car (food scraps, plastics, paper and cardboard) then a box of recyclable bottles and cans and a bucket of nappies.  I came back into the house and took Elsie down to the car and put her into her car seat and then made another trip for Pixie in her capsule.  I had to run back into the house for a dummy for Pixie.  When I got back to the car, Pixie was screaming and the dummy wasn’t helping – she needed a feed.  I took her out of the car and back into the house and then made another trip for Elsie.  By the time I got Elsie out of her seat and back into the house, Pixie had gone back to sleep and I had to start all over again…   

1 comment:

  1. To be able to produce, collect, recycle and bring rubbish to the tip is like the Circle of the life.

    Like a Zebra feeding grass, Lion hunting Zebra, Hyena, vulture...

    On Easter Island, things are a little bit difference. I had to do the same, collect and bring it to the tip…but, just to be burned or see how dogs and birds feed from there…

    This small and amazing island is 3700km far away from the next piece of earth, Chile. Probably, to belong to a South American country, which is not as developed as Australia is one of the reasons why Easter Island has still lots of problems with rubbish. To understand the main reason we have just to read a book about Easter Island, Rapa Nui and how proud they are to be and to do how they feel...

    Hi Dani, this is David from Spain. It has been nice to read your blogs and be able to imagine your and your family´s life on Lord Howe Island.

    I am looking forward to making contact with you.