Killing Two Birds with One Bio-Degradable Bag

This was originally posted on Live Oaks on August 3, 2010. Comments have not been migrated.

For several months I have been complaining about the city’s mandate that citizens use bio-degradable bags for lawn debris. The bags are too small, don’t work with my lawn caddy, and are simply a pain to use. This past weekend I came up with a solution, that if I may say so myself, is absolutely brilliant. And the best part is, it allowed me to address another lingering problem that I have been wrestling with.

Over the past few years I have managed to accumulate a rather impressive collection of used motor oil and house paint. It’s not that I am a pack rat or anything, but I simply have not had time to take this toxic waste to the city’s recycling center a half-mile away. Besides, the cans have been rusting for some time and I figured that eventually the contents would leak out and seep into the ground. Then I could just throw the cans away.

However, by my calculations this process might take another ten years. And for some reason I seem to continue to accumulate oil and paint faster than it is seeping out. My wife hasn’t been happy about this, as she wants to put a flower bed where I have been storing these hazardous chemicals. And, being the worry wart that she is, she was also concerned about what was happening to the soil. But I digress.

This past weekend I realized that the problem I was having with the bags was caused by the conical shape at the bottom, combined with the “fluffiness” of the debris I was putting in the bags. There wasn’t enough weight in the debris to stabilize the bottom of the bag, and when I tried to cram more into the bag, it would slide off of the caddy and stimulate a streak of swearing that would embarrass a sailor.

When I realized this, I first thought of wetting the leaves and debris. But the water just ran off of the leaves and made the bag too heavy. Then it hit me–use the paint and oil. Neither would run off. This stroke of genius now allows me to get more into each lawn bag, while also disposing of the oil and paint.

If you find yourself needing to dispose of toxic waste, this is a perfect way to do so. I would suggest about 1 gallon of paint or oil per bag. Also, take care to not poke any holes in the bag, or the liquid could seep out and leave a trail all over the place.

I am sure that some will claim that this is illegal, but I couldn’t find anything in the city ordinances explicitly saying that we can’t put used motor oil or house paint in the disposable lawn bags. Besides, my last trick was to put the bags in my neighbor’s yard.

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