Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Garbage strike survival ideas from a six-year-old

Like most parents, I'm frequently surprised by my kid. He's six years old and, well, to be perfectly honest, he often has better ideas than I do.

When we got home from school tonight, there was a message from a radio station that had read my post, 10 ways to survive a garbage strike. This meant that I had to start by explaining what a strike is. Thankfully, he's a smart kid. Probably also helped that we read him Click, Clack, Moo when he was little.

I asked him if he had suggestions to add to the list. Of course he did.

"I would just not use a lot of things," he said. Sensible. What would he give up? "Milk."

"Okay," I replied. "That might help, but the strike might last for weeks. You probably need milk. Lets put that on a list of 'essentials' that we can't give up." I suggested buying milk in bags instead of cartons because of the smaller volume of waste (we'd have to freeze some bags, since we don't go through too much."

Naturally, he started talking about how we could re-use the bags as garbage bags. After the strike ends, that is. (If there is a garbage strike in Toronto, that is. We'll know all too soon.)

"What else could we use less of?" I asked. He pointed at the shampoo. I conceded that we could probably be more careful about the amount we use, and proceded to wash his hair.

Then I got up to let him play in the water for a bit.

"Wait!" he called. "I've got more ideas."

I got a pad and pen and sat down on the toilet to take dictation from a six-year-old pontificating from the bath.

"If you ever get a cardboard box, turn it into something else, like a little town with a train track in it."

Right. Creative, but not necessarily a way to deal with thousands of tons of trash. Still, it could make a fun weekend project, so I'm not going to argue.

That's when he really surprised me: "Eat less candy, because that means fewer candy wrappers."

Somehow I doubt his friends will be cheering for that one.

In the meantime, I'm going to use his bath water to help the tomatoes grow and tuck my creative thinker into bed. Then I'm going to sit down and cross my fingers that the outside workers and City Hall can find enough common ground to make everyone happy.


Ken Weinberg said...

It's surprising how convenient and affordable it is to buy skim milk powder, and there's almost no packaging to throw away.

Mostly, I use milk in my morning cereal. I put a half-cup on top of the granola, stir it before and after adding the water, and voila! I dare you to taste the difference! And no more throwing out spoiled milk, either.

R Breen said...

Really enjoying your blog - and learning alot.

Gotta say though - I had to look up the meaning of "pontificating"!

As for the candy wrappers; my 8 year old can create anything out of everything! Candy wrapper girls, wrapper boys, wrapper balls, wrapper skipping ropes, wrapper home decor when mixed with cardboard homes.... Really you can eat all the candy you want during the strike and never run out of uses for the wraps...

Unknown said...

Great article! I was hoping someone would write a quicklist of things we can each to do to reduce (especially while the strike is on).

My contribution:
Suggesting a 'Waste Free Lunch' at work. This entails everyone brining Tupperware containers and reusable beverage containers every day and aims to reduce the amount of waste associated with lunchtime meals.

Smell ya later - Emily

Alison Starkey said...

Your blogs are always enjoyable and informative. I have a question for you: what is a safe and ecological way of disposing of large quantities of olive oil?

Craig Saunders said...

Good question about olive oil. My first response is "Salad!" or "Massage!"

Am I correct in assuming your problem is a large volume of old, rancid oil?