The Unintended Consequences of the Holiday Season: Garbage

This afternoon when I was driving home from work, I drove by my neighbour’s home, and something in their yard caught my eye. A small refuse dumpster was parked just at the entrance of their driveway, and it was completely full of holiday garbage. You see, they run a small business from their home, sort of like a catering service, but they also host gatherings too, as they sell whine as their there primary business. When I left from my work today, we also completely filled our garbage compactor as most of the holiday decorations and festive refuse was thrown out today. But it was not until I got home that I saw, what surprised me, unexpected holiday garbage laying on the side of the road in the ditch–several square metres of gift wrap, cardboard and plastic. So soon, and New Year’s has not even passed yet. And further down the road, what looks to be and old entertainment centre with its electronic still intact–cord and all–no doubt replaced by another one as a gift.

I remember reading a long time ago a story in the Vancouver Sun news paper, back before it was in vogue reading your news on the Internet, about just what the estimates were of the amount of garbage we throw out during the holidays. Including the tree, the spike in waste output was somewhere around a 5 to 7 percent increase per volume of garbage that is collected in a year from each household–and this trend keeps growing by a fraction year by year. But as we move fast-forward to today, with the cost of disposing our garbage getting more expensive, some people know doubt will find creative ways of side-stepping those costs and slip their garbage through the cracks, passing the buck onto some else to pick it up properly.  Living along a back road on the country side, on the Northern edge of Langley Township, I see this every year. People leaving their old unwanted television sets on the side of the road, along with a few tightly packed plastics garbage bags, bursting open as small animals burrow holes in them, all becuase this is more convenient for them. The christmas tree is perhaps the most recognisable object that I see thrown along the side of the roads, or tossed behind banks and back alleys in town. The trees will start to popping up this year in about a week’s time.

I walked down to the ditch to pick-up the gift wrapping waste that was laying by my driveway, and notice that a tag was attached to the wrapping paper by tape that read, “To: Jamie, From: Santa.” Oh, I did not need a four year degree in Criminology to figure out where the origins of this garbage came from. I put the garbage in my trash bin and left it at that. The unintended consequences of the Holiday Season.

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