I like to think that I’m not a rubbish lover – as, no doubt, does everyone. But I’m being urged to become one.
At Mrs Darnton’s behest we recently moved to
“And there came a grievous swarm of wheelie bins into the house of Pharaoh, and into his servants’ houses, and into all the
The fad for washing your rubbish and putting the shiny bits in one bin and the slimy crap in another bin – something I was familiar with from previous cities I’ve lived in – is considered passé in
You can hear the metallic voices of their overlords emanating from the Council chamber: “Expropriate! Expropriate!”
Along with the bins came strict instructions about what goes in which. Cardboard in the red bin, food scraps in the green bin. Get it wrong and you’ll never have your rubbish collected again. People have been paralysed by indecision, oscillating between their bins holding cheese-encrusted pizza boxes.
The pizza box problem is easily solved by following another Christchurch City Council suggestion, building a worm farm. Worms eat cardboard and food scrap – problem solved. The only hard part is finding part of your garden that isn’t covered by a fleet of wheelie bins.
Actually, there is another hard part and that’s that worms won’t touch onions, orange peel, or chicken tikka masala – the fussy buggers – and so you need two bins for food scraps if you’re going to be a hardcore rubbish lover.
Other instructions are confusing too. I can put meat into my organics bin but not dead animals. Does a dead sheep count as meat? What about half a sheep? A rib? Where do you draw the line? If I were Vietnamese could I chuck my dog away? If I were a National voter would dead rats count?
Worse than the classification quandaries, not every bin gets collected every week. The bins also came with a spreadsheet to calculate which days which bins go out. The idea is that you stick this chart on your fridge to jog your memory, an idea presumably inspired by the success of the Ministry of Health fridge magnets in preventing a bird flu pandemic. The difference is that the bird flu ones contained no information and so were very easy to understand. The details on becoming intimate with your refuse require a degree in discrete mathematics – a tall order when 25% of state-miseducated high school graduates can’t read a bus timetable.
Where once the rubbish was something kept in the corner and discreetly disposed of it’s now a central feature of everyday life. I don’t want to love my rubbish but it’s forced itself on me anyway.