What do you find when you look into a pile of green waste freshly tipped at a composting site? Using composter vernacular in places the list below sheds some light on what a careful rummage could reveal:
- Deer skins
- Junkie needles
- Shitey pants
- Fanny pads
- A shark
There was a question about whether soiled underwear would merit the green waste bin based on its organic properties or if it was a pant too far. The shark was actually tipped at an AD site giving the operators quite a jolt.
I wonder what you’d find in a rubbish dump 1,000 year ago. Chances are, not a huge amount. A friend told me recently how she had spent one year living in Nepal with four other people and generated one dustbin full of waste. During the year everything which could have been fixed was and only stuff which was far beyond use or repair was chucked. Pre western affluence societies would conserve and reuse wherever possible, throwing things out only as an absolute last resort.
How will waste in the far future be treated? It’s not a huge leap of imagination to figure something needs to shift dramatically with the status quo of how waste is ‘wasted’, pun intended. From about the 1850s, post the start of the industrial revolution, everyday items and goods became cheaper year on year for 150 years. But since the early 2000s the trend reversed and in inverse relation to the availability of natural resources, goods have started to become ever more expensive. This has triggered the increasing value of waste as a commodity on the European markets as legislation drives the price up. For example, wood waste has gone through the roof with exponential inflation of x10 in a few years thanks to UK biomass policies.
‘Waste is a resource’ is now a common refrain and my hope is that 1,000 years from now rubbish dumps will look similar to their ancestors – remarkably empty.