Saturday, March 8, 2014

Waste management for crazy people

Matt makes fun of me for being a big obsessed with garbage. Don't get me wrong, he's all for recycling and composting (in Chicago, he once yelled at a gangbanger-looking young adult that dropped a plastic bottle on the ground) but I have a tendency to take things to another level (you might say another planet).

A fishing net found on a beach helps keep our produce fresh.
When we still lived on land, for awhile I would bring my banana peels and apple cores home to throw in the compost pile. Most of the people I worked with would throw paper in the garbage instead of walking it to the recycling bin 20 feet away and I would take the paper out of the garbage for proper disposal. Yeah, so I can be a bit obsessive. Being on a boat has not helped the situation.

A boa made with 'yarn' made from old T-shirts.

Spending so much time on beaches, especially remote ones, and island communities makes it impossible to ignore the garbage problem. Many beaches in the Bahamas are strewn with mostly non-biodegradable plastic debris that has washed ashore.  And although many settlements make an effort to keep themselves clean, there are many that are strewn with garbage. Even when it is collected, it seems that much of the garbage is often dumped in a big pile at the edge of town. Other garbage is burned, even plastic. Recycling is very rare. And yet, every grocery store provides plastic bags and carry-out containers are all Styrofoam and plastic. We try to bring our own reusable bags and buy unpackaged produce, but plastic bags keep making their way on board. Any bread, tortillas and much of the produce available comes sheathed in plastic.

My level of craziness can't be contained for long, so I have been trying to find ways to reduce the amount of garbage we add to the places we visit. The jellyfish and fish pictured were crocheted out of plarn, which is "yarn" made of plastic bags. I'm also working on a tote bag to hold our onions. It uses miscellaneous plastic bags that come onto the boat. Since we (okay, mostly it's me) try not to accept plastic bags, it could be years before it's done. Until then, it's my form of basket-weaving therapy. No loud noises or sudden movements please.


  1. Jennifer, those plarn jelly fish are so beautiful....maybe you could sell them and start a business.

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