Disability is really not good for the environment. Public transport around here is actually pretty good - accessible buses from our doorstep into town, into Oxford, over to the hospital, every few minutes and all day long. Wonderful. Unless you happen to have two wheelchair users in the family. Same with trains; I guess disabled people aren't supposed to know other disabled people and spend time with each other. So, we drive most places. And, because we have two (sometimes three) wheelchair users in the family, we have a rather large bus instead of the small family car three of us could sit in if we didn't need the equipment. And it's mostly just me driving around in it. Not great for the environment.
With medical needs come inordinate amounts of packaging. Mog's feed comes in a tin; one tin lasts 2.2 days. So far, the Guides have absorbed a fair few of the tins; we've made them into drums, stilts, planted daffodils in them to give to old ladies. At home they're pencil tubs and money boxes, storage for the spare little fiddly things you get with flat pack furniture. But I'm running out of options; we've around a hundred spare at the moment, so if anyone wants some nice metal tins with plastic lids (think baby formula tin), please feel free. Bright yellow plastic scoop included as extra free gift.
We put the powder into a disposable plastic bottle; a new bottle each day now although at one point it was three bottles a day. Each bottle gets connected to a giving set. Each bottle and each giving set is wrapped in plastic, thirty of these are posted into a cardboard box, and mountains of wrongly sized ones are stacked on the shelves of my garage. Today I refused an incorrect order; I wanted half the order but did not want the bottles and giving sets we don't use any more. I was not allowed to accept half the order; it was all or nothing. So, I refused the whole lot and phoned the feed company. Who informed me that the boxes I had refused would now be destroyed. Brand new, sealed, boxes of giving sets and flexitainers, all individually sealed and wrapped, never been across my doorway just from their warehouse into a delivery van and back to the warehouse. And now they have to be destroyed because the box has had a sticker with my daughter's name on it and they couldn't possibly just remove the sticker and put someone else's on. They did however manage to catch the delivery man; apparently because they caught him before they got back to the warehouse they were in fact able to redeliver my order and now only half of it will be destroyed. But still - that's sixty pieces of sterile kit being incinerated for absolutely no good reason.
Meanwhile previous old supplies fester in our garage. And those we do use just add to the mass of waste we produce. Bottles into the recycling bin, but our recyclers refuse the giving sets and wrappers. And the cardboard box, together with the boxes from the catheters, and the boxes from the inco pads, etcetera etcetera and so on, pile up. I was taking a monthly trip to the tip, but on our last visit the men in yellow jackets informed me my bus was too heavy and I now need a commercial permit before I can visit again. So that's not happening. I took a few boxes to Tesco, only to be shouted at by a fellow recycler for having too much recycling and not leaving space for anyone else. And now they're taking over the garage, piling up, floor to ceiling and side to side, a rapidly impenetrable blockade preventing me from reaching more useful supplies. It's not disastrous, a couple of our carers are more than fashionably thin, so we just send them in. But there's a distinct possibility they might not make it out again.
And the waste keeps on piling up. Disposable everything, wrapped in disposable layer after layer, paper and plastic and cardboard and more plastic, and some days it feels as though the house is slowly drowning in a sea of wrappings. Plastic waves with packing peanut foam, Cardboard icebergs, drifting across the kitchen, ready to catch out the unwary.
And on a totally unrelated note, the other lesson I didn't need to learn yesterday was that sniffer dogs still prefer the scent of a cat to anything else they might be trained to sniff out. Unless they've been trained to sniff (and chase) cats, which seems a little odd.