Thursday, June 15, 2006


We discussed how people have no idea where their food comes from in the last article, now I want to discuss if we know where our waste ends up. Clatsop County is often a county that says “No!” to all sorts of stuff. No ship-breaking, no LNG… or it could be more of a No, Not in My Back Yard, aka NIMBY.

By its virtue, consumerism creates waste. There are unusable parts and packaging that needs to be disposed of. However we do not have a dump in Clatsop County so most people never consider what happens to their trash. Do you know where your trash ends up? Yes, WOW (Western Oregon Waste) picks up your trash or maybe you bring your trash to them. Your trash goes to the transfer station in Astoria, but that isn’t the dump. It is simply a weigh station where your trash is collected and then placed in trailers to be carted off to Riverbend Landfill near McMinnville.

So what happens when the land fill is full and somehow it comes to the attention of the trash gods that Clatsop County has lots of rural space for a land fill. I bet all the residents will go nuts. NIMBY!!! But all these years the residents here have thoughtlessly thrown away all their trash without consideration for the community where our trash ends up.

I visit the transfer station twice a year. I have a container that holds my trash and when it is full it is time for me to throw in on the pick-up and head for the the transfer station. I feel guilty imposing my trash on another community twice a year, but I am doing better. I used to go four times a year. My goal is to go only once every two years.

One visit to the transfer station you will often see it is like a smelly version of the Forgotten Works (In Watermelon Sugar). Most of the stuff had real recycling potential, but the lazy tossers couldn’t bother to take the time.

I wonder why people don’t care where the things they purchase come from and where it all goes when we dispose of what is left. Maybe they are better off not knowing about the about the child in Asia working in sweatshops for 12 hours a day. This child may be the same age as their own children who get to sleep 200 thread count sheets. And all that junk they rid themselves end up polluting a community in McMinnville. Just how long do people think this can continue before they end up with bite marks in their own butts? The NIMBY folks have to start realizing that McMinnville is our back yard and the trash is moving closer to their house every day.

The next time you walk into Fred Meyer or any larger store for that matter, stand in the entrance and look at all the future land fill. Shelves stretching out hundreds of feet in all directions filled with future land fill. You may get a sense of it while standing in one of the isles, but gazing at the entire store from the entrance will really drive home the point.

In 2005 the estimated population of Clatsop County was 36,798. In 2005, WOW shipped 36 tons of our trash to McMinnville. That’s nearly one ton of garbage per person…Jesus F-ing Christ! Open your eyes people! Only 8 tons of material was recycled in 2005.

Considering if the average weight of all people living in Clatsop County, adults and children combined were about 150 pounds per person, this would mean that we are each throwing away close to 25 times our own body weight every year.

In closing on an ironic note, if you put the words “land fill” into a search engine you are directed to look for Land Fill at Once there you are greeted by all sorts of pillows and bedding and other future land fill items you can purchase now with your Master Card.


Blogger The Yoga Loft said...

Thank you for that. If it was in their backyard, they might be a little more in touch with it. I'm a culprit too when it comes to garbage, but we recycle like crazy at our house, avoid packaged items and take our own cloth bags to the store. It doesn't take much to make a dent in the problem but when you have people believing concern about the environment is against God--it feels so hopeless. Thank you again for your consciousness and awareness around the situation.

4:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am sick of all you hippies in this world you all enjoy the life that you have and it all can from people that gave themselves to there country and all you hippies want to do is mess it up America.We are is in a real breaking point right now with all the distrust and liberal crap that comes out of you people god help us all and some day you will see the light about how good you have it all and you just need something to wine about good bye loser

7:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes we have it so good now that we can but stuff at a lower cost because most restrictions have been removed by the EPA, so you can spend less now, but expect to pay more for all the cancers you will develop, and you will pay because of all the medicare cuts your people on the Hill are making. Look on the bright side, if you can't afford your grave site, maybe they can put you into a land fill.

8:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eric Cartman obviously checking in.

7:35 AM  
Blogger scott said...

I was wondering if you,ve heard of the book "Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things."

It is a step beyond mere recycling, where the concept of wast eis entirely eliminated.
All materials circulate in biological or technical streams and nothing is wasted.

Of course there are still energy costs to move stuff around, so in that sense there is still waste, but that is taken into consideration and minimized.

The authors of the book (William McDonough and Michael Braungart) are working on many "Cradle to Cradle" projects already, and have designed, for instance, a textile factory in Europe in which all of the textiles (and waste materials) can be composted, and the water that flows out of the factory is actually cleaner than the water that comes in.

They would take issue with your stance on consumerism to some extent, as their belief is that consumption is okay as long as it is taking place in a system in which there is no waste.

I'm interested to know if you've heard of the book or the concept, as I heard it first myself on KMUN five years ago, and it is a cocept that is growing, but catching on slowly, as it is a very long-term strategy.

4:50 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

No doubt we need to consume, but needs are one thing, whats are another, and compulsiveness is something else entirely.

I've never heard of the book, but thanks for the recomendation, it is now on my list.

8:55 AM  

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