17 March, 2009


what we do to earn a "living" seems so remote from what we need to live.

Late last year, I quit my cushy job with the public service. I have been attempting to forge out an existence as a mercenary envioromental consultant. Work has been erratic and teh bust of the resources boom has sent shock waves through the Engineering Consulting community.
A couple of weeks ago, I began Environmental Management within the built environment at its most fundamental.

I have taken a casual job, emptying garbage bins and cleaning toilets within the central business district.

During the week I am collecting:
By volume

* 40% MX newspapers ( a local free commuter newspaper);
* 20% bottled water containers;
* 10% soft drink bottles;
* 10% Juice foam containers;
* 10% putricibles - food scraps;
* 5% aluminium cans;
* cigarette butts and miscellaneous stuff

On the weekends there is less MX and more glass bottles....

I wrote the following to the Editor of the MX afternoon edition Newspaper:

"I just started a new job this week, picking up rubbish in the city. I just wanted to thank you (and the City’s smokers) for creating me a job. Please keep your editorial content at its current level. The front cover seems to create just enough interest for people to pick up a copy of your illustrious publication, before throwing it away (sometimes in a bin)."

Last night, they rolled out a red carpet across Elizabeth Street and while I walked the streets, emptying bins and sweeping the footpaths, the Prime Minister dined at the Irish Club. Had an American President been dining at the Irish club, they may have cordoned off the city and had secret service people everywhere.

As I cleaned the street, I compared my job to the Prime Minister's job. I think I am on a better deal. I don't take work home with me. I have reasonable flexible working hours. I don't have a great deal of stress. I wondered if the Prime Minister is on an hourly rate? I wondered if he gets paid extra when it rains?

My other thoughts last night centred around all the things I could do, that would make my job redundant. I have figured out the composition of the waste. I know the major point sources of waste generation. I have figured out cleaner production strategies for reducing the quantity of solid waste. I have even worked out strategies for resource recovery and waste minimisation that do not involved "Dumpster Diving".

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