Jack Brezina: Down in the dumps
|By Jack Brezina - Contributing Writer | April 27, 2017|
People have expressed concern that I am cultivating an unhealthy relationship with the dump. My sanitary landfill de choix is Minden’s Scotch Line site just north of the village, and I know each of you likely has your own favourite. Mine makes me feel, well, sad.
I spend a lot of time thinking about it ... I remember, long before recycling, when the dump was down in a deep valley and one had to descend a circuitous route, like at an open pit mine, to reach the point where you could toss your garbage at a pile. There were no cards to show, no separating items by gender (source material) and the place was open 24 hours a day. You could visit any time of the day or night. The night trips were always the most interesting as long as it didn’t bother you just to hear the bears and not see them.
The dump was often smoldering, (stove ash that wasn’t quite out) with nasty smelling plumes of oddly coloured smoke curling out of the mountains of trash. Occasionally, it would turn into a raging inferno with the fire department called out to try to find the heart of the blaze and firefighters wondering, as they raked open the stinking bags, if this is really what they volunteered for.
But all that is long buried now. The pit is gone and the drive in is almost level, as visitors cruise over decades of accumulated trash and wonder if somewhere deep below their feet is the missing wedding ring from years ago or that wad of cash they always thought would be secure in the cookie jar that someone threw out.
Now it’s all ID cards and separating your recyclables and toxic waste and e-waste and fluorescent tubes and batteries and tires and fridges and stoves and that monstrous construction waste pile. That last one drives me berserk.
I look at the pile of furniture, fiberglass boats, lumber, windows and doors and so much other stuff and see a monument to our consumer society. I rarely contribute to that part of the dump, but when I see it, I feel a twinge about how we have evolved to become such a throw-away society. In that pile of debris, which I am told is destined for the chipper, I see pieces of lumber that could be salvaged, windows and doors still in good shape, plywood, items that could be usefully repurposed. There must be some way of rescuing the useful from that which has met its end and put it to another use.
I am not referring to new building construction, that is likely illegal, but to sheds and chicken coups and walkways and ... I don’t know what. People with greater carpentry skills than mine could probably suggest hundreds of things that could be done with the material that is in that pile. But instead, the signs warn “no scavenging” and the useful material awaits its ultimate fate with the chipper. It then gets turned into material to be spread over the rest of the garbage.
When will it end? Likely not soon. The answer to that question when I am at the dump is right under my feet.
Jack Brezina is a contributing writer for The Highlander.