When is Saving Collecting and Recycling?

Over the past year Tony and I took a hard look at our garbage – how much we make, how we get rid of it and how could we reduce it.

In Ireland there are no property taxes. But you do pay for services like refuse collection and you have control over how much you compost, burn on the home hearth, recycle at the ‘Bring Centre’ (glass, plastic bottles and aluminium drink cans).

We buy refuse bags (five for €25) at our local supermarket issued by Cavan County Council that holds about 40 kilos. A household of two living conscientiously can reduce a lot of waste. Actually, most of ours is cat litter because I have not been totally successful in creating a cat litter composting area.Recently a friend of ours remodeled an old national schoolhouse (a two room primary school) and installed gray-water waste systems as well as solar panels, a wood pellet central heating boiler and lots of insulation. This got me thinking about other ways we could collect and recycle.

Garden Tunnels

Plant earlier with garden tunnels

We have a small polytunnel (or a hoop house to you) on our acre.

Water is both a blessing and curse in the west of Ireland. We have very fertile soil on our plot but we needed to dig drainage ditches to get it less soggy and boggy. Yet, even in Ireland we can have dry spells. Just last May we had thirty days without rain (we made up for it with over forty days in July/August though).

Because we are in a frost pocket we plant our seed potato much later than other locals. But spring is the time when you really cannot afford to let spuds dry out. So all May I was out each morning with the garden hose giving the spuds a drink of water.

As I am writing this there are snow showers and rain squalls and then the odd downpour.  We live close to the source of the River Shannon and the river is very high by winter standards.

Durable Rain Barrel

Durable Rain Barrel

And water is pouring from our gutters. Which, if I had put in rain barrels last autumn I would have been able to use for the garden this spring.  We do have one barrel to catch rain out by the poly tunnel but it overflowed long ago.

So my hot tip for anyone living in a temperate area with a high (if somewhat erratic, not to say changeable) rainfall pattern – Get the barrels! I sure will. It’s both saving and recycling at the same time.

About BeeSmith

I was born in Queens, N.Y, reared in Pennsylvania, did university in Washington, D.C. Then I moved to England for nineteen years. I lived first in London and then in Leeds. After my partner's sister died of cancer in 2000, we decided to take the leap of faith and move to Ireland to be nearer his family. Despite our friends thinking we were mad and feckless, it has worked out. The angels really do look after fools! We have a cottage on an acre and a quarter three miles from where the River Shannon rises. We have a polytunnel to grow vegetables and fruit organically, a small orchard of apple trees and plans to create a sacred space on the land over the rest of our lifetimes. We share our home with two tortoiseshell cats, Zelda and her daughter Zymina, and three dogs, Murphy, Pippin and Cara.