Monday, December 28, 2009

Our Trash

I’ve been listing more stuff on Etsy lately, you can take a look here. Several of my listings have pictures of jewelry laying on or hanging from ice-encrusted trees, shrubs, rocks, and leaves. I love these pictures. Most people I talk to love these pictures.

I’ve gotten some flack, though, from some people on Etsy about them because the ice may be dirty. These are people who are clean-freaks, I’m sure you’ve met them. They don’t want to wear jewelry that other people may have worn. They think it is icky to put jewelry on ice. Because. Ew.

The ice may be dirty.

I’ve been on the fence about changing the pictures. I keep wondering if it is keeping people from buying from me. I’m not afraid of dirt, I think exposure to germs makes me healthier and so far I’ve been proven right with a cold every 3 years, a stomach thing every few years, no flu to speak of ever, etc etc, while other people drop to cold and flu left and right despite their extreme hand washing and use of antibacterial everything.

Anyway, I was talking about this with a friend recently who, I believe, likened the complainers to morons and told me not to ever change the pictures, they were gorgeous.

So, I’m making a proclamation today that I will not change the pictures and will actually TAKE MORE ICE PICTURES as soon as I can, because they’re lovely. So there. And if you don’t like it, go find some boiled jewelry somewhere else.
After that intro, I’d like to talk about our trash. When we moved into this house, we opted not to have trash service. We do not pay for someone to haul away our garbage. Our township recently switched trash services and we got a bill in the mail for $53/quarter. We're not going to sign up.

We’ve worked our garbage into 5 categories. I will talk about them here, briefly, after which I will relate a short story about our first 2 weeks living here. It is a great story.

Compostables: We compost what we can. We have a seal-top bin on the counter that we line with a compostable ‘plastic’ bag made of corn starch. When it is full we throw it in the compost bin, bag and all. I have also been known to compost other things, like an old wool sweater, cotton balls, and a mostly decomposed dead owl I found in the lawn once. Yum!

Meat/fat/cheese: Most of the meat and fat we toss at the top of the yard for whatever animals will eat it, usually some of the gazillion feral cats we have here thanks to our neighbor the crazy cat lady my mother in law.

Burnables: all paper and cardboard goes into one of the trash cans we have in the kitchen, which we take once a week or so to our burning barrel to burn.

Recyclables: All recyo-babbles get bagged up and taken to the local Refuse Transfer Station (dump) about 5 miles away. We can deposit all recyclables for free.

Everything Else: Whatever doesn’t fall into the above categories gets bagged up and taken to the dump about every other month (um, more often in hot weather). This is usually plastic or metal that can’t be recycled, Styrofoam, sometimes bones, foamfill from torn-apart dog toys, other miscellaneous items.

The last trip we made to the ‘dump’ was this weekend. We threw out 60lb of trash that we’d accumulated for well over a month, and it cost us $3.00. Sometimes it is $2.50, sometimes $4.

So, for a year it costs us less than $3/month for a grand total of less than $36/year. Plus, with our sorting we really don’t throw out as much.
Now, for a trash story:

The elderly woman who lived in the house before we did had been bullied by the landlord of the house next to us to allow his tenants to use her driveway. By proxy, they also got away with not paying for her to have the driveway cleaned off in the winter and they used her trash service. The trash was put at the end of the driveway and they could just add a bag or two to her bag. Hey, an old lady doesn’t accumulate much trash in a week, right? It was never noticed by the collectors.

Then we moved in and didn’t renew the garbage contract.

(We also sent the landlord a letter via our lawyer saying they could no longer use the driveway because they had roadfrontage and didn’t, legally, have a right to use it, and almost got into a physical fight with the man over it. It was a fun time for everyone! The story I’m relaying here happened before the letter, though).

So, Tuesday the week after we moved in the woman who rented next door dragged her bag of trash to the end of the driveway.

Wednesday morning, it was still there.
Thursday morning it was still there.
Friday morning (shock) it was still there. She dragged it back.

The next Tuesday she dragged TWO bags of trash to the end of our driveway.
Wednesday morning, it was still there. Are we seeing a pattern here?

Thursday morning, it was still there. She dragged it back to her rental house. (Quick. The woman is quick).

I’m not sure what happened between she and her landlord, but she didn’t do it a third week. I also can’t remember if they wound up having trash pick-up at the end of their driveway when they eventually were, ah, forced to put one in (right over the sewer box, I might add). If they did I’m sure she ended up paying for it and not the landlord. We had new neighbors by the end of the year.


Mama Pea said...

First of all, please don't change the way you photograph your jewelry. It is GORGEOUS!

Secondly, regarding your trash story: You've heard the expression, "Good riddance to bad garbage?" I'm glad those neighbors are gone.

Me voici
Here I am

The photos of your jewelry is just as creative and impressive as the jewelry itself.

I remember when you first where establishing your Etsy site, you asked what I thought. I repeat, a few of the photos seem to distract from the work of the pieces themselves. The goal is to sell the piece, not the twig it's on... though it is your twig to sell too.

Never once did I think "ew, that jewelry must be dirty".

On taking more ice pictures, maybe you could freeze a slab indoors to give you a nice, any-time-accessible surface to work on.

Just an idea.

Great story about the trash... think you mentioned it before, but nice to read again.

Angie said...

What kind of obsessive person would be worried about dirt and germs from ice? Strange.

Also, I think the efficient way you handle garbage and compost is commendable. Not only do you save money, but it's ecologically sound.

YD, sometimes with Samantha and June said...

Those pictures are great, please don't change them.(By the way, I had trouble getting there from the link, so I went to Etsy and went from there)
Nice "trash" talk in this post. Some people just love taking advantage of others.