Monday, October 7, 2013


I've moaned about trash in four blog posts and two videos.

My  husband, John Cullum, and I, even wrote a musical about a garbage  disposal machine -- titled it "Roseanne." It was never submitted to  producers -- two dear friends clobbered it -- Phil Burton, Richard  Burton's stepfather, and Stone Widney, Alan J Lerner's right-hand man.  They said, "Forget it. People won't buy tickets. No one wants to see a  musical about garbage."

So, the script sits on a shelf in my office, in the trash pile of  discarded projects, but I think about it. It comes to mind Mondays,  Wednesdays, and Fridays, when we take the trash bags downstairs and  the super deals with the sanitation trucks.

Like most people, I'm concerned with many other life and death crises that  are happening here, where I live, and all over the world. This year,  only minor media attention has been paid to the higher mountains of  trash on landfills, and the islands of trash floating around in the  oceans.

A silent evil it is --  dark, stinky awful -- according to  Each of us produces about 4 ½ pounds of garbage per day, or 29 pounds per  week, or 1,600 pounds a year.  You could form a line of filled-up garbage  trucks and reach the moon; or cover the state of Texas two-and-a-half  times; bury more than 990,000 football fields under six-foot high piles  of waste. says we throw away enough aluminum to duplicate the full commercial  air fleet of the U.S.

And let's not forget those un-disposable things -- nuclear waste that's shoved, buried, re-buried, and plastic bags, and diapers.

Okay,  there's some good news. Scientists can extract a substance from garbage  -- succinic acid -- it's used for making machine parts. The process is  tedious and costly, but they're working on making it easier and  cheaper. And from coffee grounds, furniture, odor reducing fabric, and  soaps are being made.

Also there's "gasification" now -- complicated machines that burn garbage, and "Gasifiers" have been built and are being tested that can turn  garbage into usable power, such as fuel, and electricity.

Holy cow, why not do that everywhere, do it now?

The usual reasons -- money, approvals, committees, legislatures,  laws. Meanwhile, New York City's Mayor Bloomberg is implementing a plan that will require all residents to recycle food scraps -- that's about 35 percent of what we throw away. It can be comverted into compost, a valuable resource for farmers and landscapers, and will save the city hundreds of millions of dollars by diverting waste from our already overfull landfills.

Hold the thought -- since John and I routinely recycle our trash and garbage, and soon we'll be doing food scraps -- golly  maybe  ... just maybe is the time to revise -- pull "Roseanne" out of  the trash, update her, and see what producers think.   


Gary Alan Henson said...

Humans move by inches, it's just the way we are. When it comes to 'garbage' it's the same.
Garbage has been the yuk you toss and someone else takes care of it.
It's really a resource that we've denied/ignored as being 'too hard' to mine.
We simply have to focus our energies and attention to the issue and we can solve it.

Poet_Carl_Watts said...

Waste will always be an issue but we can handle it. \

The exception is nuclear waste. It doesn't go away.

Solution is to shoot it into the sun. They wont do that.

So we must stop all nuclear production before this planet becomes to hot for life.