Saturday, April 18, 2009


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A few days ago, I asked my mum how she and her family got rid of their trash in the old days, and she blinked at me and said, "we didn't have that much to throw away to begin with".

We could not afford many things, and plastic was expensive and hard to come by. Most bought stuff was wrapped in paper and tied with a string. Liquids were stored in glass bottles, and a man would come around on a bicycle, once a week, to collect glass bottles (Coke bottles, milk bottles, soy sauce bottles .....), metal cans and newspaper. He'd weigh and pay my mum's family for all the items sold.

All biodegradable trash would be stored in a large bin and another man would go around daily, collecting this trash for the pigs to eat. Yeah, pigs eat just about anything, but thankfully, the pigs have a better diet in controlled farms today.

Most clothes are used until they are really worn out. Hand-me-downs are the norm, and holes are patched to death I tell you. And once no one can wear these clothes anymore, they are used as rags.

Even from the time I was born, disposable diapers were not readily available. And everyone used cloth diapers. Babies were taught to pee and poo at a very young age, so that mums would have less washing to handle LOL. Today, they have a name for this type of potty training; Elimination Communication. My first son was potty trained at 9 months old, when I first learned of this technique, while my 2nd son was trained right from the start. I was surprised at how smart newborns can be. After the 2nd try, just like they said, my baby would pee on cue the moment I said "shhhhhhh". How great is THAT? You can't believe how much money I save on diapers! And even if I do have to use disposable diapers, I don't use that many.

I remembered that the Malaysian government had a campaign on tv to get people to throw their trash in plastic bags. Previously people would just dump their rubbish in the trash can and the garbage man would dump all the smelly rotting items into the dump truck. I remembered this tv public announcement very well. In the short tv clip, they showed this person putting everything into a plastic bag, and putting the neatly tied trash nicely and neatly into the garbage can. When the garbage man came by, in the tv clip I mean, he would just reach into the garbage can and grab the plastic bags, which did not emit any undesirable smell and place it neatly into the garbage truck. The campaign was probably in the 80s, correct me if I'm wrong, as I was just a kid then. But oh boy, if only the government knew the consequences of this campaign in later years. Plastics galore, and no way to get rid of it.

Recently, I read an interesting book from an Australian who encourage people to wrap their trash with newspapers instead of a plastic bag. The idea is, if you reduce, reuse and recycle correctly, you should have very little trash, so much so, it can all be wrapped up in a newspaper. I really like this idea.

Anyways, back to olden day trash. We can learn a few things from those guys way back then. But the most important thing is, we, as individuals, today, must want to start reducing our trash. Earth Hour, Earth Day, Recycling This and That, all those campaigns would be useless if we don't make a point to just reduce our trash daily, without prompting right?

Reduce, reuse, recycle.

Come join my "Eat Raw Food Today" facebook group

ps if you know of anybody who have babies, or going to have a kid and want to save money, please tell them about Elimination Communication. It can't hurt to try. They can message me via my blog for questions about this method, or they can just Google for information on this.

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