Monday, 12 September 2011


It is the moment i have been dreading
In fact I've been putting it off for months
The trip to Lifford Lane
The euphemistically named household recycling centre
For the south-western quadrant of the city
What used to be called a rubbish tip
In less pc days of yore
We are here to unburden ourselves
Of two years worth of Tetrapaks
Those dauntingly unrecyclable drinks containers
Cunningly fashioned from paper, plastic and foil
Now we sit in a slow-moving queue of traffic
Which files funereally into this soulless repository
Of human folly and hubris
The cars inch forward one by one to drop off their despised cargo
The funeral director in his high vis jacket
Ushers us solemny into bay three
This is the sad and lonely end of the road
The final resting place
For the intensely-marketed shiny baubles and glittering trinkets
Of the twenty-first century consumer dream
Where death, as always, is the great leveller
Each item equally unwanted and unloved
As we acclimatise our noses wrinkle
At the rancid stench of corpulent black bin bags
Stuffed full of rotting household waste
Now the eyes scan with morbid facination
The rows of bulky TVs and clumsy computer monitors
Abandoned for newer, younger, slimmer models
Next the ears wince then the guts wrench at the sickening crunch
Of crushed metal, shattered plastic and splintered glass
It's all here
The cartons and the cans
The flat batteries and the flourescent tubes
The fat fridges and the flabby freezers
Worst of all, the massive skip behind bay three
Where the dead corpses of electric and electronic appliances
Crush the broken bones of their brothers and sisters
A terrifying hi-tech mountain of PCs and laptops
A tangled mess of cables and plugs
Mangled stereos and hi-fi systems
Brusied video recorders and DVD players
Dented coffee perculators and sandwich makers
Perhaps dead and useless
Or perhaps simply rendered obsolescent by next generation technology
Questions flood the mind
What natural resources were consumed in the manufacture of these goods?
Or should that be bads?
What rare and precious metals do they contain?
What toxins and poisons?
How much pollution was involved in producing them?
Who got ill? What creatures died?
What amount of cash was paid for the stuff?
Where will it go now, this waste mountain?
To a huge hole in the ground
Where it will leach into the groundwater?
To an enormous incinerator
Which will belch more toxins into the atmosphere?
To a giant ghost ship back to China
Where most of it was assembled?
One thing is for sure
It will not just go away
For, as someone once said
There is no 'away'
What was taken in production
Stolen from the Earth
We must ultimately sacrifice
As Gaia takes its revenge
Such is the law of things
Even as the council taxpayer takes the final hit
To foot the bill for the disposal of these disowned discards

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