Posts Tagged ‘rubbish’


Week 6 – Waste, Industrial or Other-Wise

November 16, 2008

Ben’s parents took us out to a dinner last night to a quaint little Mexican restaurant in Shelton. Whether it was the green chili sauce that he poured all over his burrito (so I wouldn’t steal a bite), or maybe a touch of a stomach virus but poor Ben spent all morning looking greener than the hot sauce.

This little bit of news helped decide where we would fill our buckets. We decided on the West Seattle Industrial Area for two reasons; it was near our house so we could run home quickly if Ben “pooped” out… img_52862and we figured it would take all of one minute to fill our buckets.

It actually took five minutes and two buckets to complete our mission. I wasn’t sure if the refuse center around the corner had anything to do with the vast amounts of waste and debris. Did the rubbish fly off the Waste Management trucks as they went to the dump, or did passers-by toss their rubbish out the window and say, “close enough?”

We drove away thinking how easy it was to fill our buckets today but as we looked back we realized it would require multiple trips before we could even put a dent in that particular area. Now there’s an offer we can’t “refuse!”


Week 2 – Hartstene Island aka “Paradise Found”

October 20, 2008

We spent the weekend at Hartstene Island (alternate spelling: Harstine Island) where we accepted the daunting task of actually finding trash in a place where the locals dub their island as “Paradise.”  It’s a different kind of Paradise than I’m used to seeing.  Being from Hawaii (Paradise #1), I first saw Seattle as cold, rainy and indifferent.  After living here for awhile and with Ben’s adventurous spirit I am now able to call Washington State “Paradise” as well (Paradise# 2).

Of course the differences could fill many-a-blog, but the similarities are what are so interesting.  On both islands you take for granted the “Aloha Spirit.”  Everyone waves to each other, whether it is on bikes, cars, or walking on the road…and if someone doesn’t wave back, it is then deemed okay to whisper “tourist” and roll your eyes. 

Another similarity is respect for the “Aina” (the land).  Jan (Ben’s beautiful mom) was insistent that we would not be able to pick up one bucket, much less two in their Paradise.   We always take a walk along the beach anyway when we’re there, so we just brought our bucket just in case.  We passed velvety baby deer wandering along the driveways and noticed how dog-like seal faces truly are as they bask so contently on the docks. 

At first we fought over each tiny little scrap of Styrofoam that we could find washed up along the shore.  In fact, nearly everything we picked up off the beach was something that had washed ashore from somewhere else.  Even with the three of us, it took over an hour to scrounge up two buckets worth of flotsam and jetsam. 

Two weeks and four buckets later we are still very excited about our little experiment.  We hope to hear from future bucket heads!




Week 1 – Alki Beach

October 12, 2008

Our mission started after watching a PBS documentary   with a team of volunteers cleaning up river beds and then later that night watching Obama decimate McCain in a debate.  Not that decimation equates to rubbish picking, but it did ask us the almighty question of “what can we do to help?”

We decided to start small…”One bucket a week.” We also decided to start where we live, which is West Seattle.  It ended up being a gorgeously crisp October day so we headed down to beautiful Alki Beach. We figured if we were doing good deeds, we might as well have pretty scenery to look at as we rummage through the dirt and despair.

At first we were getting a tad bit disappointed.  I managed to find a few cigarette butts around park benches but the pickin’s were slim. Not only could we not find anything to remotely fill our buckets with, but the loot itself was rather disappointing.  No whiskey or beer bottles but a small smashed bottle of Tonic Water.  What I spied as a condom, with closer inspection, was actually a green apple lollipop wrapper.   

Finally Ben hit the mother-load by peering over the rock bulkhead.  He carefully climbed down to toss up the garbage (see pic) that was thrown maliciously over the side so the average do-er-well would never be able to locate by merely a casual stroll.  Beer bottles, cigars (this is still Alki Beach), pop cans, coffee cups (again, this is Seattle), and plastic galore!  

Whew!  One hour and two buckets later we headed home to sort, recycle and shower.  Feel free to share your bucket stories or pictures with us at  Of course we encourage everyone to get in the bucket!