Friday, March 20, 2009

Airing my laundry (clean) and my trash

Mummy's yarn
Trash, rubbish, garbage, whatever you call it, it is bit of a stinky problem, isn't it? When I taught elementary school, we took several elementary school classes to the landfill, part of that shock and awe campaign, "Look at this, isn't this awful. Don't grown up to trash the earth like I'm doing." but I don't think that approach really works. The connection might be made, but the pressure to act isn't immediate enough. I think the Italians (and the rest of the world) might have the solution.

We're actually pretty good back in the US, relatively that is. We compost a bunch (I was going to use an expletive there, but this is a family show.) and we try to cut down on packaging and use shopping bags rather than disposable bags, but moving here is encouraging me more. The first night we were here we had to take the trash out. Big deal eh? Except taking the trash out meant traversing down 70 steep steps, out into the cold night and crossing over to the next street to where the trash cans are, dropping off your stinky trash, which in our case includes diapers/nappies and back up 70 steep steps. Yep, trash cans and recycle for a fairly substantial number of people in containers not much larger than the ones that we have outside our back gate, just for our personal use. It is enough to make you try and cut back on how much you throw out and in doing that lower our consumption too. For example, the use of paper towels to wipe up kitchen surfaces or Ila's hands. Why am I using paper towels when I could use a cloth? We do a little of this at home, but not enough.

So, Ila and I set about making some.

Not quite as good as the ones we have from Aunt Ila, but they will suffice. A little mad crocheting here and there and there is a set of washable cloths. I just wish we had one of those huge pots that my mum used to boil up the teatowels and cloths when I was a kid.
Step one. to less consumption, less trash and less trips to the dumpster. And thats it really, isn't it? It isn't guilt, or concern for the environment that pushes us to change, but for matters of immediate ease and finance. Maybe I shouldn't be so quick to say 'us' and just keep to talking for myself, but as I look around at the proliferation of Smart cars and motorbikes here, the consistent use of timed lights for hallways, the absolute frigid inside room temperatures (Deborah, you were right about the insides of Italian houses - freezing), use of drying racks and lines and less reliance on pre and over packaged foods, I think that the average Italian must consume considerably less than us each year. While we're on the topic of consumption and I haven't yet mentioned food in today's post, We should mention it now. Ladies and gentlemen, that stuff you've convinced yourself is cheese, is nothing more than fake plastic cheese. Real cheese is so much better! I'm pretty convinced that all the EU regs are not being followed as those tend to take from the flavor of food. I didn't know you could like parmesan so much. Revolt dear countrymen and women, demand good cheese!


  1. So excited to see your blog and do some vicarious adventuring. Your comments on mine have inspired me to try to catch up on my posting, too, thanks.

    Love those tights on Ila!

  2. Self-interest is a much better motivator than guilt. Maybe we should just take away Americans' trash cans? Here in SF, we're charged for landfill garbage (by the can) but recycling plastic, glass, etc. and compostables is free. We're lucky to have this system.

    What I really want to comment on is Ila -- is she helping you crochet? Sweet.

  3. Aistas,
    Aren't those tights fabulous! If I was 39 and not forty I'd say what the hell and wear something similar. Instead, I'll live vicariously through my daughter. Pleased to hear you're catching up with your picture posting. Those images are fabulous. I'm going to follow along now.

    Yeah Rachel, it isn't just the financial aspect, its the whole aspect of dragging your trash and everyone can see it. I'm just so British in some ways and so it offends my sensibilities to display my garbage to all and sundry. I like to make the bag of trash as small and as inoffensive as possible. Certainly, I wish Tucson's system was more like SFs, but it ain't bad.

    Ila is attempting finger knitting, mostly the ball gets unwound and then she says "wrap up, please"

  4. Back when I was in Florence, the lack of laundry facilities in my otherwise pretty luxurious apartment just annoyed me - I wasn't thinking about saving the earth, rather about the fact that we lived right by the train tracks and my cleaned, drying socks were constantly covered in soot & soft as cardboard! When my mom came to visit, she was so excited by the laundry sink we had on the terrace (with an attached washboard, something she said was a luxury feature in the laundry sinks of her youth) she actually did several loads of wash for me...

    Paper towels, ouch. Very guilty over here, when it comes to cleaning Jonah's face & hands. In fact my mom, who's visiting, just asked today why we aren't using rags!

    Hope you can score some nice warm slippers at UPIM if you haven't brought a pair with you...