Since we live – at least, most of us live – in capitalist societies, we are constantly subjected to the relentless pressure to consume and then replace existing items with new ones. This means that a large amount of stuff gets thrown away as rubbish when, in fact, it could do good service for a lengthy period of time.
Read the full article here.
Living in Thailand means collecting plastic bags – lots of them. In addition to the excessive packaging found on so many consumer goods products, there are the inevitable plastic carrier bags.* There are also the transparent bags that are used to carry food from street stalls, not to mention the bags in which cola and fizzy pop of all sorts can be put to save paying for the bottle. All of this stuff mounts up: we do at least reuse the carrier bags to put into bins to collect household rubbish. However, there is precious little done here in Bangkok in terms of formal recycling. The binmen come by a couple of times a week and take away all of the rubbish.
On the other hand, there is a series of scavengers and peddlers who go around the houses picking up things which can be sold for a few satang or baht. Tin cans (such as, for example and picking an item entirely at random, tonic water) is separated and sold, as too can be newspapers and glass bottles. Scavengers also find other items that can be of value and take it away.
Anyway, a story in the Bangkok Post yesterday followed the rubbish to one of the principal processing centres and found that plastic bags in themselves can be reused, while plastic egg cartons and plastic with metal attachments cannot. Apparently, 88% of the 9,000 tonnes of waste produced each day in Bangkok comes from households. Since landfill sites are nearly full, it seems likely to be necessary to build new incinerators which will work at (although this seems like a wild guess) one million baht per thousand tonnes of garbage burned.
Let us hope that the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority could take a lead on public education and promoting social solidarity so that recycling can take a more efficient form. Hope is perhaps all we have, these days.**
* Yes, yes, I know I should use a cloth shopping bag but I just forget. I once got a free cloth ‘save the earth’ shopping bag as part of a B2S promotion – it was wrapped in plastic and the shop assistant kindly put it in another plastic bag for me.
** Perhaps we could get the rubbish redesignated as ‘terrorist rubbish’ and then it could all be shot and dumped at sea. Allegedly.