Waste Not, Want Not

So I consider myself a pretty un-wasteful person. I reuse Ziploc bags, unless they had funky chicken in them. I composted my veggie scraps in the States. I have reusable totes for the grocery store. All that green stuff.

But living in Cambodia has shown me a whole new level of un-wastefullness. (ok, surely there is a synonym for that that is actually a real word?) Let me tell you, there is nothing more embarrassing than walking past your landlord and realizing he's using that plastic ice cream container you threw out a few days ago because you already have a bajillion ice cream containers because someone has a small ice cream addiction problem.

It's the heat. Don't judge me.

And we've noticed a few other things being reused by our landlord or played with by his grandkids that we thought were looong dead. Andrew even saw the plastic bag we put our trash into being washed and reused by our landlord. Wowzers. Of course, this generates the obvious question of: What do we do with our trash?

Well, when the plastic bag is full, we tie it up and plunk it on the ground at the bottom of the stairs up to our place. And the landlord takes care of the rest. We assume that most of it gets burned up, because about every week, our landlord starts a small fire that smells vaguely of plastic and burnt paper. There's no formal trash service here, and recycling? Just look for the barefoot, dirty street kids. They always need some spare change and seem to know where to take your plastic bottles. But now we've realized that our landlord sorts through our trash, picking out things that he thinks might be useful. Like the ice tray that had so many cracks in it, we couldn't get ice out anymore.

So I've decided to reevaluate my use of the trash bin and start saving things that I might be able to use again, like cereal boxes and plastic milk cartons. Who knew that cereal boxes could actually be so useful? And washing stuff and just giving it to my landlord's family so they don't have to fish it out of the garbage. Yuck.