Blue Gardens by Cathryn Gagnon

52441743_300856517281021_5527814237860134912_nWe have been in Kiwengwa, Zanzibar for four days now.  I happened to bring a few plastic shopping bags with me from Cape Town, which we used up in the kitchen waste container.  Suddenly, out of kitchen garbage bags, I began to panic.  So the search began. We looked in the one small grocery store here in town with no luck.  We even searched in Stone Town without success.  I asked Ed, “What do we do with our kitchen waste?”

We asked Carola, the guesthouse owner, and she told us that plastic bags are outlawed and/or forbidden in this area.  You simply cannot get plastic bags anywhere, you can’t even buy them.

She said that her parents visited eleven years ago and commented on the blue gardens along the roads and in the fields. They were littered with blue plastic shopping bags.  When they returned a year ago, they noticed that the blue gardens had virtually disappeared.

Carola was proud to tell us that things have improved regarding plastic bag waste.  She noted that there is still much trash lying around, due to lack of caring and/or poor upbringing. We all agreed on that, it’s so prevalent in many third-world countries.

So, I asked her, “What do we do with our trash?”  She explained that we should put all organic/edible scraps like vegetables, fruit peels, egg shells, bones, etc. into a container and she will spread it out for her free range chickens.  The rest of the trash is dumped (without a bag) into a bin, where it is sorted by locals.

This information really made me think and realize how wasteful we have become as a society.  We are so quick to put everything into a plastic bag, I am guilty of that.

When we travel to exotic locations, when I’m in the kitchen, I am happy to re-use plastic containers for veggie bowls and fridge containers, instead of tossing them into the recycle or garbage bins.  I even wash out and re-use Ziploc bags, something my grandmother used to do.  I am proud of myself for re-using a Pringles container as a place to store spatulas and tongs.

Don’t get me wrong, Ed and I are exceptional recyclers at home, but as for other edible or organic items, we fail.  Much of this is due to where we live in Windsor. Currently, there is no organic waste program and we do not have a garden or composting area available to us.  I must look into this when we return.

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