We moved to Bon Bon Reserve from a comfortable little suburb near McLaren Vale SA, where we had all the conveniences on hand, such as shopping centres, hardware shops and council services. I had taken all these services for granted, including rubbish removal.
Every Wednesday night I would diligently wheel our bin out to the kerb where the council truck would come in the early hours of the morning and take way all the broken, unwanted and used debris from our property. Great, out of sight, out of mind!
Now we're living on reserve, things aren't quite so easy. There's no yellow truck causing calamity in the wee hours of the morning, and what's brought on reserve stays on reserve, unless we can find another way.
We've chosen reusing, repurposing, reimagining and recycling. We're not just putting things in the right bin, but actually finding alternative uses for all the left over repairs and renovations, packaging, paper, plastic, old furniture, used piping, corrugated iron, e-waste and, well... you get the picture – everything that has found its way to Bon Bon over the years.
We don’t have the luxury of phoning council to organise a hard rubbish collection, or putting things in the magic disappear bin. Gumtree and Facebook are another avenue that no longer applies to those of us living nine hours away from the nearest capital city. Wayne and I, like many other reserve managers, have learnt to become creative.
Old baths, toilets and sinks are now garden beds, broken fridges are now wicking beds and furniture that was stacked up in the shed has been stripped back and refreshed with a new coat of paint. Jars get reused to hold all the preserves and vegetables that now come from garden beds made from the broken fridges, baths and toilets.
For all the things we can’t reuse here at Bon Bon we have a number of alternatives. B&A Recycling Pimba collects items such as bottles and cans, hard plastic and milk cartons. Scrap metal is taken to Augusta Scrap Metal and used sump oil is taken to Cleanaway Recyclers, both in Port Augusta.
Our e-waste and polystyrene is taken by our Healthy Landscapes manager Bruce Hammond to be recycled by Electronic Recycling Australia. Soft plastics we collect and bring to our local participating soft plastic recycling supermarket.
Food scraps are made in to compost to produce even more food that we don’t have to buy at the shops. And we're working on fixing up the old chicken coop to house new family members of the Bon Bon flock.
The first stop however is not bringing the unnecessary items to the reserve in the first place.
We shop carefully selecting items that have little-to-no packaging. Condiments are chosen based on their glass or tin containers, and reusable plastic bags are brought to the shops to hold the fruit and veg that we can’t grow on reserve.
Although sometimes it takes a little more time as we stand helplessly with our rubbish in hand wondering which bin it goes into, we know we're doing the right thing, for our reserve, for our wildlife and for the planet. After all isn’t that what Bush Heritage is all about?