Of Recycling, Rubbish and Rethinking

Before Christmas I have posted pictures of our town’s recycled Christmas tree. Strolling through Santa Maria, I noticed that there seems to be quite the recycling theme going on this year. So on my next visit to town (we live a few walking minutes outside) I took my camera and caught some of the awesome ideas:

Wine bags as a garland

Probably my favourite: Flowers made from the top bits of plastic bottles

Stars made from the bottom of plastic bottles

More recycled bottles

Christmas trees made from egg cartons

The other night, we went to the Christmas party that my little monster’s day nursery had organised. They also had a large display of artificial Christmas trees, hand-made by the kids and not few of them from recycled materials:

I love the one in the front, made from flotsam and jetsam – including bits of plastic fishing nets

Toilet roll leftover recycling

As Linda of one of my favourite blogs Rangewriter said in a comment, “For now that’s a lovely way to squeeze extra life out of all that silly plastic.” I agree, and I am just glad they are teaching the kids here the value of resources and creative recycling. Linda continues “But what happens at the end of the year?” Very true, and I only hope that one day they will do away with all the single-use plastic water bottles altogether and go over to a reusable scheme.

2012 has actually seen an island-wide campaign to get rid of plastic bags. More effort than England can claim as I complained about in another era. Unfortunately, the plastic bag ban here seems to be working only in theory. I generally have to fend off the plastic bags that I am given when shopping, even though I am usually there with the little monkey’s pram and its generous basket underneath, plus waving around my cloth shopping bag with the Berlin motive. Sigh.

The going argument is that people here, in a developing country, have more basic problems to worry about than a bit of plastic spoiling the landscape. Really? A nation that increasingly relies on tourism as an income source can afford to have foreign guests disgusted with litter-strewn beaches?

The other day I was watching a team of workers, without doubt paid by the municipality, cleaning the salt pans, one of the attractions of Santa Maria. The relentless wind here carries all kinds of garbage around, and the little salty lakes are first-class collecting basins:

Would you like to use this sea salt to season your food?

Would you like to use this sea salt to season your food?

Not very attractive. My hope is that the young generation is learning now that avoiding rubbish is cheaper in the long run than cleaning it up. The rethinking is probably not going to happen in 2013 but one day…

To all of you a very happy and successful new year with lots of adventures, friends, love and laughs.

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From Island To Island

Dear readers,

My life has changed. Not only did we have another baby, we have also moved to Cape Verde, an island nation in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. What made us move here is a story for another day. For now I wanted to explore the options of this blog.

I have neglected writing for a while, if for a good reason. I mean, apart from this baby business, moving to a different country has shifted my focus somewhat. So life in the UK and the quirks of the Brits suddenly didn’t seem all that important to me anymore – no offence.

But then I love writing. Okay, I’m not a bored housewife anymore, so I won’t be able to produce anything too regular. However, after only a few days here on our new island I feel the urge to put my experiences into words.

I briefly considered starting a new blog, but then I am also an attention whore, so forfeiting a faithful, hard-earned WordPress followership of, believe it or not, 51 was absolutely out of the question. Plus, we do live on an island again, don’t we? So I have decided to highjack my own blog name and re-dedicate it to my new adventures on the island of Sal. I know I will have to adjust my About page and the mission statement but bear with me, there are only 24 hours in my day.

For today, I will leave you with an impression of what Christmas in a tropical developing country looks like. Cape Verde is an up-and-coming tourist destination but one of the many sustainability problems that needs to be resolved before long is rubbish. Here is a creative and very Capeverdean way of recycling:

Building a Christmas tree

Getting there

The finished artwork in all its splendour

Happy Christmas to all of you. May you get to spend some quality time with your families and friends and may the quantity of presents only play a minor role in measuring your happiness.