For quite a while, I’ve considered myself mildly environmentally conscious. I’m certainly nowhere near as environmentally friendly as some people, I’m sure, but I do simple things like holding onto recyclable objects until I can find a recycling bin, I take short showers, and, most importantly, I make sure that any organic waste goes into the brown bin in our kitchen, which will eventually be transported to the green bin in our garage.
Toronto got their green bins a few years before Mississauga did, and when Toronto first got those bins I was a little envious that they could be potentially diverting so much food waste away from landfills and into condos. I’ve seen enough pictures of mega-landfills to know that these can’t be sustained forever. There’s just too much garbage.
So when I found out that green bins were coming to Mississauga, I was thrilled. It was certainly a trial-and-error process when we first started. I initially didn’t know about compostable bags, so the first few bins featured decomposing food in all its fuzzy, putrid, liquid, sticky and multi-coloured goodness with nothing to wrap it up. Needless to say, my parents wanted absolutely nothing to do with it whatsoever.
And to an extent, they still don’t. My dad refuses to even touch the green bin, except to empty food into it. It’s constantly my job to deal with this even when I’m probably the most infrequent user of the bin.
It’s gotten a little easier to deal with now that compostable bags are commonplace, and not too long ago I learned that newspaper can work to stifle the smell of rotting food. And I always feel good when our green bin goes out, because I know that maybe the landfills might be just a tiny bit smaller. (That being said, there have been stories in the past about garbage officials sending bags meant for the green bin into landfills because garbage trucks need to have a certain weight loaded onto them.)
The green bin, as you might guess, has been the source of many heated yelling matches between me and my parents (mostly my dad). I am usually reserved with what I say, but I have no qualms in calling anyone who complains about the smell but does nothing to deal with it hugely lazy and maybe a bit of a hypocrite.
The low point of the green bin battle happened sometime last year. My mom was emptying the brown bin once and, because no one dealt with it for extended periods of time, there were actually maggots infesting it. My mom almost immediately threw out the old bin after breaking it and got a new one. I’m now making it my sole mission to keep it as clean as possible.
As Kermit the Frog so wonderfully encapsulated, it’s not easy being green.