Tuesday 7 March 2017

One man's tip...

Today, I was weeding in the garden while also gathering up a mighty pile of old palm fronds. This is without doubt one of the my least favourite things about living in a house. As I painstakingly pull out tiny weed after tiny weed, I mull over how much I wish I was back living in a Dubai skyscraper where weeds were someone else's problem.

Then I looked up to see the mighty pile of palm fronds that I'd been gathering at the side of my house, wondering what kind of wildlife had been making its home in there or what kind of fire hazard I was creating. Way too much 'green waste' for our fortnightly collection, I literally shoved it all into the back of the car, squirming and itching as bugs and dust showered over me.

In my mobile jungle I made our way to our local Refuse Recovery Centre (aka The Tip). This may surprise you to hear, but the tip is one of my most favourite places. Sure, given the choice I would probably go to Venice or Vienna over the tip, but given the choice between pulling out weeds and going to the tip, the tip would win every time.

The first time I went to the tip was up in the northern suburbs of Sydney, in Belrose. We got to drive past Paul Hogan's house and then we drove down a windy dirt track to what I can only describe as one of the most glorious sights I'd ever seen. Piles and mounds of stuff! There were piles and piles of unused colouring books, there were toys and bikes and bits of colourful plastic. "People are throwing this stuff away?!"I thought to my five-year-old self. It was like a shop where you didn't have to pay for anything, except my mum wouldn't let me take home any of the treasure I found. For months after I dreamed about going back and and climbing the mounds looking for treasure. I decided that it might even be a good idea to have my birthday party there. It was just the most magical place in my young imagination.

A few years later we to another refuse centre, I was buzzing with excitement. What would I find this time? Except when we got there it was just a big concrete-lined hole with a mechanical compactor. There was no way for me to touch my treasures, I just had to watch as it was all squashed together. It was most disappointing.

As I drove up to the tip today and I smelt that distinctive smell, I won't deny that I got a little excited.  It was all so organised and I eagerly looked around at all the signs "car batteries", "mattresses" "green waste", "recycling". My five-year-old self wanted to run around and see what everyone was throwing out. Seeing the cars and trucks and trailers with their hauls driving here and there to right locations, I have to admit that I had fun! As I pulled out the palm fronds one by one and threw them high on to 'green waste' mound, I was smiling widely to myself.

Image courtesy of FreeImages.com/John Nyberg


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