Think I am just thinking.

Words are but thoughts made visible.

Getting rich on trash?

   In the previous post I was noticing just how many different containers there are to put our trash in.  Have you taken a look at the prices on those colorful containers?  Not only are they expensive, but you might just want to read the label on the ingredients that many of these designer trash containers are made of. 

   As it turns out, there are a number of plastic trash containers, that are made from the very trash which is placed in them every day.   In years past, all of our trash was hauled away to landfills to be dumped, covered and buried to decompose at the speed of dark.

   Today, about 30-35%, of all trash is recycled, depending on what city you live in.  Of this volume, much of it is paper products, which have one of the higher percentages, at around 50%.  Of all the plastic bottles used everyday, some 40% of them are recycled back into new products.  The plastic bottles are ground up in to small pieces, cleaned and ultimately turned back in to new plastic items, such as trash bins!

   So back to the original question of “can you get rich on trash?  Well the short answer is absolutely.  If you own a trash hauling company, you can count on there always being a customer.  Of course the hard part is being large enough to attract customers and being able to hold your costs down enough to attractive in pricing, as well as service.  If you are a recycler, you can make lots of money, if you can process huge volumes of recyclable material, and have manufacturers lined up to purchase the material from you in bulk. 

  You will note, the key to making money on trash is being able to handle tons and tons of trash.  unfortunately, this typically means you must already have the financing (MONEY) in order to put together a trash business model that will end up with a profit at the end of the day.  Then, if you can increase your business (trash volume) enough, you will indeed get rich on trash.

   As for myself, I will be content to put as much recyclable material into the green bins each week, and just feel good knowing I have helped to reduce the volume of trash just being buried each week.  Currently this amounts to just over 50% of all the trash from the house.  Some weeks, a bit more.  If I can get this up to 75%, I do feel I will have made a difference.  The difference I make, may not make me richer, but it will enrich the lives of others by helping to create new jobs in recycling, and making a cleaner environment for my descendents.

   I feel richer already.

January 25, 2011 Posted by | Household Improvements, Things at Home, thinking, Trash | Leave a comment

Trash everywhere and so many places to put it!

A place for every piece of trash.

   Who would have thought that garbage could be good-looking?   Well, just take a walk through any store which has items for the home and you will find a varitiy of garbage and trash cans which will decorate about any abode.  We can buy trash cans with lids, or flats, open tops, flip lids, solid sides, open web sides.  We can get trash container that are silver, blue, red, black, yellow, green, brown, and a multitude of other colors, and yes even white (the biggest seller).

   Just goes to show you that everyone can have personal trash which anyone would be happy to show off.   Personally, I still prefer the stainless steel with the flip lid for the kitchen.  After all, there is always one aspect of trash that we always have a hard time covering up!

January 20, 2011 Posted by | Household Improvements, Things at Home, Trash | Leave a comment

What happened to the water?

   Every day, people go to the faucet in their home; turn, pull, or lift the handle and an endless supply of clear clean water flows out for their consumption or use.  We are so accustomed to this daily little piece of life we take it totally for granted.  And then there is an evening like todays.

   Arrived home after a long days work, and noticed that the when getting a glass of water, the water was not flowing at the normal high rate of speed into the glass.  Made a comment to the mate, “Hey the water pressure seems low”.  Her response: “What would cause that?”  About fifteen minutes later I went to rinse a diner dish off and no water!

   Well it hasn’t been cold enough to freeze lines yet, so I knew that could not be the cause.  So we made a call to the neighbor asking: “Hey Nancy, you guys got water?”  The confirming answer was: “Nope, heard one of the neighbors driveways collapsed from a blow water main.” 

   We have lived in the same house for the last 12 years and we have lost electrical power, but never have we lost water!  Prior to that we lived in a home about two miles from our current home for over 10 years there and also never lost water.  Needless to say, we have become very complacent about water always being available.  But, we still have heat, lights and the water was still going down all the drains, at least while the water was running anyway.

   So as the evening wears on, the though crosses our mind, “what do we do if there is no water yet in the morning?”

   We would both like to shower in the morning and I would like to shave.  Not even having a bottle of water in the house we may be forced to clean up camping style.  After all, there are still a couple clean reservoirs of water available for heating up in a pan on the stove.  But then of course we would not be able to flush!  As we don’t use the chemical treatments, the water is clean.  Most people forget about the tanks.  And then, in a pinch, there is the drain on the hot water heater.  Then it’s the old fashion, shower in a wash-cloth routine.

   Do you think anyone would notice if I am wearing extra aftershave tomorrow?

December 2, 2010 Posted by | Household Improvements, Things at Home | Leave a comment

Own you home? Do we ever?

  I was having a little conversation about homes and ownership the other day.    For those who are lucky enough to be making payments on what they hope to be their home, free and clear some day.  So we take out a bank loan for a mere 30 or so years and then after a selling and buying a couple other new homes do to relocation, up-sizing, or what ever reason, they find it really takes more like 40 years to pay off the loan. 

   So, the bottom line is it takes the average person 30 plus years, if they are lucky, to pay off the original loan on their home.  Then, they find out they need a new roof, the siding needs to be replaced and the deck has become a hazard in own rights.  So, now there’s another 5-10 years paying off the home improvement loan, and then the house is free and clear, or is it?

   So after 40 years you own your home and have no loans.  But, you still have payments to make.  If you check around the country, you will find that if you look at a an average home worth lets say $200,000, the local taxes on that home will run somewhere in the range of $4,000.  You will also find that you need to have insurance on the home, not just for fire, storms and the like, but liability insurance, should someone trip walking on your sidewalk and get injured.  So, what you will end up with by the time you add-on some routine maintenance is that your free and clear home should only cost you about $450 per month.  Ok, still cheaper than the $750 you would pay for a small apartment. 

   So as we all try to plan ahead for what we hope will be the good retirement years, these are all costs that will remain on our free and clear home.   And yet in spite of all this, if you are one of those people who ends up owning your home free and clear, you still are luckier in terms of expenses, as compared to the person who is renting.  If you haven’t checked lately, a small apartment in the midwest goes for anywhere from $650 to $900 per month.  For something the size of the typical house, the rent easily jumps upward of $1,600 for a 2-3 bedroom house. 

   But, if you are like me and working on trying to some day own your home without the bank sharing ownership, there is the yard to mow, the deck to clean, the trees to trim, the exterior to maintain.  And oh yes, the Taxes to pay.

October 24, 2010 Posted by | Things at Home, thinking | Leave a comment

Round the Merry-go-round and the Garden.

Merry-Go-Round

You will have to forgive some of the blur, but it was a handheld shot.  But, the image does help to portray some of the motion of the grandson’s wild horse ride.  Ok, perhaps wild is too strong of a word, but he sure did seem to be having fun.  Besides, watching the grandson is so much more fun then sharing a cold or flu bug with him!

Now, not that a Merry-Go-Round has anything to do with garden’s, I did want to give an update on the garden.  Pictures will be following, I promise.

I mentioned the garden previously.  It is really starting to produce.  We have been getting lettuce  for almost four weeks now.  But the big news is this week, we picked our first cucumbers, string beans, a d a couple small tomatoes.  Barring a hail storm, we should be swimming in tomatoes in another week.  I think we will have our fill of cucumbers and string beans in another 5-10 days as well.  There is really something about a vine ripened tomato that cannot be found in any store.  Myself, I am not a great tomato lover.  But, I have to say, that the sweetness found in those coming from the garden made them palatable even to me!

July 5, 2010 Posted by | Cold, Flu, Garden | Leave a comment

Getting back to nature.

   What could be more getting back to Nature than planting a garden?  Of course you have to do more than just plant the seeds.  The first step to is in getting the garden area ready to be planted.  The farmers have known all about this for years.  Step 1: plow up the dirt!

   Of course you do not plow up a 20×30 foot plot of dirt, but you do need to mix it up a bit.  The easy way out is to buy a small tiller and go to work churning up the ground.  Not having a tiller the next best thing is to simply use a spade and work the dirt the old”er” fasion way.   The Mrs and I worked on this a bit at a time after work, verses tackling the whole thing at once.   Once the dirt was turned, a little hand ranking smoothed things out and we were almost ready.

   There’s more?  Of course, things do grow better if the ground has the right mix of nutrients in the dirt.  So, we made a trip to the local nursery and picked up a few bags of good old cow manure, worm castings (yes that is worm droppings by another name), and some peat moss to round things out.   So, about $80.00 later, we have dirt that is plowed (sort of), fertilized and ready to have the seeds planted. 

   Planting is really the easy part, though it does help to visually plan out where everything should go.  Taller plants to the back and shorter ones to the front (South) of the garden for best sun exposure.  It does help to use some small stakes and some string to mark out the rows.  Helps you plant in a straight line and keep the rows the proper distance apart from each other.  Just be sure to read the direction on your seed package for information on how deep to plant, how far apart to place seeds, and how much distance to allow between the rows. 

   So, later this summer we should be at the point were we can start harvesting the first of our crops.  The lettuces should be some of the first.  So, by the end of the season, I am guessing we will have gathered perhaps $250 worth of produce from our garden. 

   Doing the math, that is a whopping savings of $180 for all the hours of effort.  I thing that works out to be about $4/hour payback, or then maybe less?  We do not do this to save money.  We do this to reconnect with Nature.  We each grew up in the country-side and moved to the big city as adults.  The garden is a chance to touch memories of our youth and a chance to share with our kids and grandkids that not only can you grow your own food, you can have fun doing it.

   Now, I sure hope it rains, or we are going to have to do a lot of watering.  I think the $4/hour was maybe high?

May 2, 2010 Posted by | Garden, Things at Home | Leave a comment