Saturday, March 22, 2008

To the Dump

Some of you may find it odd that Eric and I once had a date at the dump, but it was then that I knew he was the one.  Seriously, for those of you that haven't been to your local landfill, it is quite the adventure.  If you are not one to recycle or believe that as a society we are creating more trash than we know what to do with, you MUST go.  There is a huge gaping hole in the ground that trucks literally back up into and dump out their garbage. Then it is flattened by heavy machinery, watered down and presto!.....out of sight, out of mind.  
About half way into our green building process, Eric and I realized that no one (subs, contractor, etc.) was going to sort and recycle our construction debris.  If we wanted it to happen, we had to do it ourselves.  It took several days to sort the pile of trash in our front yard into metal, cardboard/paper, glass, and clean wood.  The rest went into the dumpster and will eventually end up in land fill.   I would estimate we brought down our trash weight by 1/3 to 1/2 of what it would have been...a huge savings in dump costs as well as better for the environment.  

The bulk of our recyclables was clean wood which is put through a huge machine and made into wood chips for landscaping.  It took several attempts at the recycling center to learn the process. On my first trip, they said I had painted wood (not good).  On my second trip, they wanted to call haz mat because I had some pressure treated wood (also not good).  On my subsequent trips I was given the okay.  

Clean wood, as defined by San Diego, is not painted or treated (varnished or pressure treated) but it can have nails.  I have to admit, I like going to the dump, as do our kids.  There is something therapeutic about throwing large pieces of wood onto a huge pile and watching them shatter.  It is even cooler to know that we will be back in a few months to retrieve that same wood in the form of wood chips.  The cycle of life......

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