Dump Wars (as published in the Globe and Mail on March 4, 2008)

Facts & Arguments: THE ESSAY

Dump wars

‘Isn’t that glass recyclable?’ I ask the man heaving old windows into the garbage bin. He glares at me

COLLETTE YVONNE March 4, 2008Igot into a fight with a guy at the dump the other day.Normally I don’t bicker with strangers at waste transfer stations, but I couldn’t help myself. I was having a bad garbage day. And I was feeling righteous. I had just come from my late father-in-law’s house, where I’ve been sifting through more than nine decades’ worth of effects. I’ve been peering into dusty boxes full of 8-tracks, allocating everything from coffee tables to fingernail clippers, sorting boxes of wrenches and discarding grotty pillows and underwear.This task is taking weeks out of my life. Every last artifact needs careful consideration. I am so consumed with enviro-guilt I cannot bring myself to throw away so much as a half-used tube of hemorrhoid cream unless it has gone through an exhaustive checklist: Do I want it? (No.) Do my children want it? (No way.) Do any of my extended family or friends want it? (They are avoiding me lately.) Read more