5 May 2010

life, death, taxes and recycling bins

Life in Africa and small places is very complex. The small coastal village of Schoenmakerkop, where I live, was recently thrown into turmoil as two bins for recycling glass suddenly landed in the village. I don’t know how they got here; they could have been dropped from a helicopter or just pushed off a passing truck.

There was unease in the village and the Ratepayers Association started circulating agendas, meetings were held and the planning started. The strange thing is we all agreed that recycling is a good thing. This is possibly the first time we had consensus on anything.

The main problem is that the bins were in the wrong place. The first one absolutely destroyed a pensioner’s sea view and was in the middle a scenic spot. It was solved at night and the bin was moved. Sadly the move was not a success. It had been placed near the house of an older female resident. The bins do attract vagrants and poor people. We still have bottles that you can hand back at the store and receive your deposit back - I am not sure what the situation is in the rest of the world but it was great as a kid as collecting bottles could supplement your pocket money. The bin unfortunately immediately attracted people who fished out bottles using bits of string and sticks. So for safety purposes and peace of mind we had to move it again, this time in front of a house that is only used by holidaymakers. I am sure that when they come down for a vacation we will have to move the bin again.

The second bin was quite well placed and there were no immediate complaints but after a week or two a strong and unpleasant smell was coming out of the bin. We are a coastal village and quite popular with anglers. Some idiot had thrown his unused bait into the bin and it was rotting. Of course the nearest resident complained and we had to move the bin. We found the perfect spot, on an open sidewalk on the road leading out of the village. Very convenient and it is easy to drop off the bottles and glass on the way to work or the shops.

Then some idiot drove into the bin. Had he been going faster it could really have been spectacular. It was cleaned up and the bin still stands proudly.

The sad thing is that the bins have probably not yet stopped moving around the village and that it is 2010 – very late to start something as basic as recycling glass. I don’t know what the next problem with the bins will be but I will let you know. By the way I really enjoy throwing bottles into the bins – they make a great sound!

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