Change the World Wednesday – 15th Feb

Champing at the bit

Normally I wake up on Wednesdays ready and raring to go; champing at the bit as it were. But this morning there were some issues in the news that took precedence. Having dealt with those and some other incidentals, I am running later than normal for CTWW.

My last week’s effort, I managed to put on the thinking cap and became creative.

My extra time at the botequim went well and I saved a whole week of two hours of TV and lights per day.

This week is similar.

The challenge is excellent, as usual, but the respect is just not here. Brazilians are not geared for this type of idea.

So here it is entirely impractical.

This week’s Change the World Wednesday Challenge:

This week create a recycle bin for all the non-curbside recyclables – batteries, CFL bulbs, misc. plastics, etc. – and then find out where to recycle them.

Or …

If you’re already a recycling “guru”, please tell us about your toughest items to recycle and how you’ve managed it. And, of course, any tips and ideas you have for recycling would be wonderful!

Catadores take anything that is not nailed down if they think they can sell it

If I was to put a special recycling/disposal box out several things could happen. Firstly the local kids would take it, use it, abuse it. Then there is the rubbish truck itself, they would just dump it in with all the other rubbish. Then the locals would just use it for any rubbish, they have no idea, even if it were to be printed on the bin. Lastly, the catadores (street scavengers) would take it for its recycling value and dump any possible contents in with normal rubbish.

So I am looking at the second part of the challenge. I’m so glad Small Footprints always provides an alternative to the main challenge.

As with last week it involves the botequim (neighbourhood bar). You can see the botequim in the photo and the proximity to my light green wall and white gate to the right.

Now botequins are normally a type of pé sujo affair, which means ‘rough and ready’ although literally ‘dirty foot.’

More often than not, they are simply a ‘hole-in-the-wall’ affair, with or without tables on the footpath (sidewalk for our American cousins). Raimundo’s is not. Tiles on the floor and walls, clean toilets, etc.

Now he has two of these

It has taken me more than two years to convince him to put a container on the public side of the bar for general rubbish. In the past rubbish ended up on the floor or in the street which had to be swept up several times a day so as not to look unsightly.

Recently he installed a huge display fridge near the front of the bar for freguês (regulars) to serve themselves, with a bottle opener hung from the wall. He finally put a box under the bottle opener and it has become a rubbish container and most people use it. There are still some die-hards and kids, that insist on throwing stuff into the street; and I have shamed more that a few of them.

So a small difference has been made.

7 responses to this post.

  1. It’s wonderful that there have been changes, even if they are small. I suspect that at some point in time, the small changes may “snowball”. It’s interesting that when a proprietor keeps his establishment neat and clean, and provides a trash bin, most people will use it. Perhaps if the city government had the same philosophy and promoted civic pride, people would be less likely to toss trash in the streets. But as always, getting city officials to make a change isn’t easy.

    I’m curious … how is household trash handled in your city? And you mentioned that scavengers will take things for recycling … so what kind of recycling is available? The Catadores … who are they selling “stuff” to?



    • @SF, yes, they are small, but better than nothing. I think most civic authorities at the moment are beyond doing much as most are strapped for cash with the current economic climate.

      We leave our trash at the curbside. Most use supermarket bags, but on our corner we have two trash bins with wheels. The trucks pass here Tues, Weds & Sats and there is no attempt to separate types of rubbish, it all goes to the dump. Once there there are people who sort through it for sell-able recyclables, sometimes whole families live at the dump and even the kids sort through the rubbish.

      There are centres that buy, for example, cardboard and PET bottles for recycling off the catadores and of course you have scrap metal dealers.

      Thanks for the RTs Stumbles and Tags, all appreciated.




  2. Great influence! I always enjoy reading your posts about life in Brazil. The Catadores remind me of the people who drive around on junk pick-up days.



    • @Katie, if there were more that did a little bit, the world would eventually be a better place. The idea you have of the catadores is exactly right. One passes here every rubbish day for PET bottles, and there is another family with seven kids who pass and collect the cans.

      Thanks, I enjoy your comments and visits.




  3. It is very interesting to hear how things are in other countries. I applaud your efforts!



  4. @Kristina, 20 years ago I lived a comfortable 1st World existence, almost oblivious to the 3rd World struggles. Even now, I consider myself only an observer, albeit informed, not a participant. I cannot fathom what it must be like for a Brazilian because I am looking at them with 1st World eyes, but they are eyes that have been opened and can see the 3rd World which many of the 1st World do not see, much the less understand. I can see what I consider wrongs, like no rubbish container, a Brazilian cannot see that as a wrong, to him it is normal. When you are fighting such apathy (I see it as apathy) you can make but little changes, which I try.

    Thanks for you visit and comment, appreciated.




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