I like recycling. Always have. The idea of re-using discarded things has always appealed and while there are environmental reasons behind this, they are not Green reasons.
The back fence of my garden is six feet high and wood. The boards are spaced, so the wind comes through there like a set of flying knives at times and I have long wondered about putting up another set of boards. On the inside, spaced to cover the gaps in the outside boards. This means the wind can get through so it doesn't put too much pressure on those ageing posts, but it can't come through the slots like some kind of Indiana Jones razor challenge. I've just done the boarding using reclaimed boards that someone else was throwing out. Cost me a little paint and a few screws, that's all.
I am six boards short so I might have to buy them. Six boards, six feet long, six inches wide. 666 - the number of the fence. It goes well with that crocus pentacle.
So what? Well, the boards would have been burned or dumped if I hadn't accepted them. I don't give an ounce of otter vomit about the carbon dioxide produced either way. It's just plant food. It's the waste of perfectly serviceable material that annoys me. Recycling saves waste, saves pollution and most importantly, it saves money. Specifically, my money.
I have insulated my shed with those grey foam tiles musicians use to deaden sound reflections. The ones covered in ridges and spikes. Again, it was free, it works and it has the added bonus of making the inside of my shed look like something from 'The Man who Fell to Earth'. My garage is in the process of being plasterboarded using reclaimed plasterboard - free apart from keeping the helper supplied with booze. Oh, and plaster to fill the gaps and broken bits but it's a garage, not a living room. It doesn't have to be perfect.
Necessary? The fence, yes. I have a greenhouse made of plastic panels and it can get very windy here. Besides, it's pretty neat to be able to sit in the garden in the evening with the wind howling, yet still strike a Zippo and not get four feet of horizontal flame. The shed, well, sheds aren't much use for storage in winter when the temperature gets well below freezing. Paint - forget it, it's ruined by next year. As I found out, even a little bit of water in a power washer can blow the seals when it hits minus 20C. Insulation might help with that.
The garage is a workshop. It's where I build strange things that sometimes even work. I built a four-place fermentor stirrer in there, with a 12V motor and using a bit of spare laminated flooring as a base. All my fermentors are now stirred at exactly the same rate for a tiny fraction of what a lab supplier would charge.
The bare-block walls are really all it needs but again, it gets seriously cold in there in winter. You can actually feel your brain solidifying almost to the point where you consider Cameron to be intelligent. But not quite. Plasterboarding the walls will help as will stopping up the huge gap above the outer door. I could plasterboard over the door but then how will I get my Dalek army out when they are complete?
All these are things that would have cost lots of money but by recycling other people's castoffs, they have cost me next to nothing.
My lab is largely equipped with castoffs too. I have a good collection of retort stands and clamps, all collected from lab dumps over the years as rusted rejects, cleaned, rubbed down and repainted. Lately I hear that lab staff complain they can't seem to get these things any more. Tough. Shouldn't have thrown them out. All they needed was a bit of wire wool, elbow grease and Hammerite. I have two castoff incubators, a dumped microscope that only needed the mechanism dismantled, cleaned and regreased, even my chemical stock is largely composed of stuff that was past its 'date'. You know, most chemicals can't 'go off' but everything has a date on it now, and accredited labs can't use it past that date. Fine by me.
The point is, I have saved a hell of a lot of money by taking away other people's junk, fixing and re-using it. A hell of a lot.
So why do all these Green initiatives cost so much? They are supposed to save money and yet they soak up money faster than a new fence board soaks up paint. Green glass is crushed up and used in road resurfacing. Are the resurfacers getting it for free? Other glass is melted down and re-used which must be cheaper than melting and clearing sand. Plastics can be melted and remoulded. I once tried to make plastic bricks for garden use but it took too long per brick so I gave up. If I had access to a slightly larger scale operation, I could collect all your plastic bottles for free and sell the bricks. Just think - garden blocks that never rot and all based on a totally free supply of raw material. I could even colour them any colour you like. Even brick-coloured for those with no imagination.
In the grounds of Culzean castle (near Ayr, Scotland) there are picnic benches made of recycled plastic. They are coloured to look like wood. Close up, nobody is fooled but from a distance they look right. So, fence boards made of unrottable plastic and with the colour already in them so they never need painting? I'd use them. They don't have to be heavy, they don't even have to be solid. Why aren't the Greens pushing this? Why aren't the government actively looking for businesses to do this?
There might be a reason. In a long-ago episode of Dr. Who, there was mention of a perpetual motion machine made by a company that went out of business. They went bust because if you have a perpetual motion machine, you don't ever need another one. So if you could put up a fence that would never rot and never need any maintenance at all, pretty soon there'd be hardly any fencers left. Or any fence-making companies. Or fence paint companies. Your grandchildren still wouldn't need to do any fence maintenance at all.
Even so, you would think this would be a definite Green objective. Instead they are focused on steel windmills with parts made from rare metals obtained by heavily-polluting extraction methods. Windmills which need fixing every five minutes and which won't have a single original part left in them in twenty years apart from the hundred-ton concrete block holding each one up. Plus, they don't work in high winds or no wind and if it's sunny and windless they use electricity to keep the blades turning so the sun doesn't warp them. Renewable? If the blades and casings were made from melted plastic bottles or beer cans, maybe. They are not. They cost more than they will ever recoup from the paltry electricity they generate. They are a total waste of time.
Why does recycling cost so much money? It goes against all logic. It's like all those people who pay a fortune to lose weight, when losing weight means eating less and should therefore cost less. Somehow, it doesn't.
Anyhow, I have an option on a load of 3-inch square posts. Coincidentally, I have considered a new cold-frame and a bench seat in the garden and one thing I learned from my father was - if you build it, make damn sure it'll stay up. I think those posts might make decent frames for these jobs.
They're free, too. Greenies take note. You too, Prime Monster.
Genuine recycling doesn't need funding.