Appalachian Wednesday–Taking Out the Trash

TrashToday is trash day in my neighborhood. That means I lug the white bag of garbage and the blue bag of recycling up to the end of the driveway and leave them for the garbage men. (I also say a little prayer that the bears don’t beat them to it.)

This is a far cry from how we disposed of trash when I was growing up on the farm. First, there was a lot less trash. Hardly any food wrappers or plastic containers–much of what we ate came from the garden or the woods. And what trash we made was disposed of in a variety of ways.

Food waste–leftovers went to the dog or the pig. What they wouldn’t eat was thrown out on the garden to rot and replenish the soil. One year we threw watermelon rinds out there and by fall had a lush vine with little melons on it.

Paper waste–the kitchen trash can had a brown grocery sack liner and the only things that went in there were combustible. When it got full one of us got to take it out to the concrete block trash burner and set it afire. I loved this job–watching the flames eat last week’s TV Guide while sparks flew up into the evening sky–lovely.

Glass waste–bottle or jars were generally washed and reused. Once we had quite a few Log Cabin syrup bottles filled with colored water displayed in the dining room window. Blue, green, red, and yellow with the sun shining through–I thought it was better than stained glass.

Everything else–if we couldn’t burn it, reuse it, or feed it to the pigs, it went into a metal trash can outside. It took a long time to fill up, but once it did, we took it to the dump. And the dump was simply a small ravine the people of the community had chosen to hold their trash. Yes, pollution. Although since we’d weeded out so much already, I tend to think it wasn’t as bad, say, as the trashy roadsides today littered with fast food wrappers and beer cans.

Old appliances, of course, went on the front porch. (Kidding! Well, mostly.)

These days the dump has been reclaimed and people out in the country are expected to take their trash into town to the landfill. It’s supposed to be better. But sometimes I wonder . . .

5 thoughts on “Appalachian Wednesday–Taking Out the Trash

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