A SHORT STORY ABOUT BINS

Sometimes in an unsustainable dawn of vulgar consumption, irresponsible disposal and downright ignorance, you just have to stand back and smile. 

YES, let's talk about bins, baby - orange ones, green ones, rusty ones, clean ones. Everywhere - In the park, on the street, in your home. They collect our rubbish but actually where does it all go?? Well it doesn't disappear that's for sure. Most of it is buried or incinerated [in most of SE Asia that happens just before the monsoon hits, before which the dirty plume can be observed from space - so then it kinda DOES disappear, but not in a good way]. Then there's that 'waste island' floating around near China that we've probably all seen in our Facebook feeds - not the kind place where you'd like to spend a holiday, unless you're into filthy radioactive seagulls. Squakkk!

So what can we do about this, apart from take pictures of bins?
Well, take note from Sweden - the king of waste! Sweden is so good at recycling that for several years, it has imported rubbish from other countries to keep its recycling plants going. Less than 1% of Swedish household waste was sent to landfill last year or any year since 2011 (just to clarify I did not do this research myself however the site I took these facts off DID look pretty serious). So why is Sweden so successful at recycling? Well after living there for a year, I can say that it's a nation that really has ticked-off many boxes for 'successful living' -  from healthcare and education to recycling and more, the result is a wonderfully conscious society (no it's not perfect buuut I'm not going there right now). The point is - after collectively solving one problem you can focus on the next. As Maslow famously documented in his hierarchy; once you have established the basic physiological needs ie. food, shelter and warmth, one climbs to the subsequent level..and so on.
My current home is Lodz, Poland and in contrast to Sweden things are somewhat different. The major issue is that the city provides no differential waste separation system - which is essential in making life easy for the population to recycle. The city has other priorities for their budget  [including making people happy so they can stay in term for another 4 years], then if we consider far less developed nations throughout Asia and Africa, it's not hard to see why separating trash is not at the top of everybody's to-do-list when they are still struggling to fulfil basic living standards.

Well, the truth is - I've already written this article about 10 times and the last iteration was diving deeper into the complex interlinked relationship between governments, corporations and consumers -  but the truth is; I even began bore myself when reading it back. Soooo I've chopped it's legs and arms off, knowing there's more chance you'll get to the end - yes, it's sad to say but we have the collective attention span of a baked fish [that's stoned-baked not bake-baked]. So what I will do instead of babbling on is offer some insights into inspiring people and organisations who really are making a change. Some are organisations responding to behavioural shifts, other are individuals who are taking different responsibilities as they see with their own eyes the devastation of our habits;

AVANI ECO Creating biodegradable bags in Indonesia. A response to some of the most polluted oceans on the planet.
4OCEAN The mission of two surfer dudes to clean up our oceans. You can help by investing in one of their bracelettes.
DARE A Nigerian NGO using of plastic bottles to construct houses.
BITE - Chewable toothpaste bits designed by a traveller to decrease toothpaste tubes in world landfills. 
EPICARTS An NGO taking kids on the streets of Kampot [Cambodia] & making products to sell int heir shop out of trash they collect.
FREITAG and TIREBELT taking the initiative and embracing the re-application of old materials to create new products.

Stacey Nel is a friend from Cape town South Africa and her pursuit of taking plastic out of her life is leading to lots of new sustainable ways in how this shift can help our planet and create a conscious harmony in your lifestyle. Stace's attitude is very inspiring and she won't take no for an answer - the last time I visited her she concocted a sun cream for my trip to Namibia from 100% natural ingredients (and it was HOT, and my skin is Irish white) and well, I haven't had a red nose ever since. Also based in Cape Town is low-impact-living, be an eco-champion and check it ouuuuuut!

I'd like to say that I have more answers but everybody has there own part to play and I guess my role as a photographer and (questionable) writer in this is to bring some of this to your attention in that hope that I can make you think and become more conscious.
Each and every one of us needs to act responsibly, this is a global problem guys C'MON - let's try and waste less OK?!

Over and Out.
PEACE!
Allan.

..Oh and I almost forgot - a big-up to all the bin men around the world - carry on collecting [But hopefully less].


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