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How big is your trash pile?

To my dear loyal blog followers (who I have neglected for so long),

I want to begin my resurgence into my life as a blogger by acknowledging that I have let Facebook come between us.  It’s simply just too easy to post a picture, write a few lines and convey a great story. Actually, while I’m doling out excuses I’ll also mention that whenever I think of writing a blog I immediately develop this acute need to produce something profound. During a busy week of work this need for brain wrenching profoundness inevitably squashes my urge to write within seconds.

Excuses aside, I must warn you that although my posts may now lack depth, they will give you a sense of day-to-day life in Liberia and hopefully the occasional chuckle. But enough chit-chat, let’s start this off with a BANG by talking about my garbage!

Each time I go grocery shopping I really have to think twice before I buy, for example, a tetra-pack of juice because I know exactly where that tetra-pack is going.  It’s going directly to an overflowing dumpster down the road from my house that’s located right in front of a market where people sell food, children play and the stench of garbage fills the air.

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To reduce our contribution to this festering pile of trash, the first thing I do is avoid buying heavily packaged items, then we focus on dividing our garbage into four categories: burnable, compostable, reusable and trash. We keep a burning drum in our yard that gets fired up every few weeks, two compost piles that get turned into soil for our garden and two big garbage pails that contain reusable items and the “true” trash.

The reusable pail consists of cans, jars with lids, glass bottles and plastic squeeze bottles. These items then get deposited beside the dumpster so the people who are looking for reusable items can easily go through it and pick out the things they want.

The recyclers either take the containers home to reuse themselves or they take the valuable ones to the new “reuse it” center where the items get resold. Water bottles are used for selling palm oil in, mayonnaise containers for selling locally made pepper sauces, and beer bottles are sold to people in need of a sharp security layer on top of their concrete fence. Even the containers from Liberia Pure Honey are part of the resalable system as they are often seen in the grocery stores with plantain chips inside.

The true trash is a real bummer. Since we have a car we can drive our trash to the dumpster, but so many people can’t and it ends up littering the streets, yards and alleyways. Garbage is everywhere here. Part of me thinks that’s not such a bad thing. When your garbage can’t go “away” and you have to look at it everyday as it really makes you think twice about what you buy.

Since I’m fighting the urge to turn this into some sort of profound conversation I’m going to stop right here and leave you with one question­– how big is your pile of garbage?