Mr. Noodle

Mr. Noodle
Mr. Noodle

Friday, October 14, 2011


I have lived in a few places in the last two years and it has me confused about recycling, garbage & environmentalism.

In the greater Victoria area, it is common for people to not flush the toilet unless there are solids in it. This has changed somewhat with the advent of low-flow toilets, with a little button for pee and a big button for poo, but on the whole, only brown goes down.

Victoria also has a sophisticated system of recycling. Everything. Whatever doesn't get picked up at the curbside, there is the Pacific Mobile Depot that makes its rounds in the capital region each month where you can take your soft plastics, your old computer parts, your Styrofoam (why did my computer insist on capitalizing that?). For many people in this area, they will only have one grocery bag a month that goes to the garbage, for all the recycling and composting they do.

When we lived in East Sooke, we had (I had) a great compost system. I had the black compost bin that I threw kitchen scraps into, and that was only if I didn't give them to the chickens first. (Having chickens around is awesome. They eat slugs). I also built a three-bin compost system for processing large batches which gave my garden lots of yummy nutrients for my plants.

Things were a bit different in Ucluelet. They do have garbage and recycling curbside pickup, but you couldn't put your stuff out before 8am on collection day because of the bears and raccoons. Very few people had compost bins for the same reason. And they did not accept glass for recycling. Water was plentiful, so there was no concern about water conservation (it is, after all, a rain forest).

Then I spent the summer in Alberta. On a farm. No such thing as curbside anything. No compost. Garbage went out to 'the pit' to be burned at some point in the year. Very few farmers recycle, but my sister does. In fact, she has quite an elaborate system of recycling whereby there is a place in the garage for everything that the recycling depot in Camrose will accept. Once a month or so, my sister will drive it all in. As for water, it's on a well. A stinky sulfurous brown water well, but there was plenty of water. Flush the toilet every time, please.

Back in Victoria, I have to overwrite and re-learn all the rules from before. Where does everything go?  What are the rhythms of the house? What can and cannot be recycled? I'm confused, see, because I'm in a borrowed space trying not to upset the fine balance of the people who live here. They are very forgiving, thankfully, and not tyrannical in the slightest. It's an interesting thing to think about though. 

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