Sunday 2 January 2011

Confiscated Booze, Rock Dust and Turkeys .. what do they have in common?

In a word – "fertiliser". Strange but true – the booze that’s been confiscated during the run up to Christmas, rock dust that’s being pulverised in Scotland and remember your Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey ... all that ‘growing’ waste ...

... all three are spread on the land to give us: ...... rock dust to pulverise again in another few million years, or in the meantime to fertilise crops and grain that can be made into alcohol or to feed the Turkeys – the never-ending cycle of life.

A Broad Breasted Bronze tom displaying

In the prohibition days clandestine breweries or distilleries were found, now it's lorry loads of booze – cider, beer, wine, whisky, vodka – which today, once confiscated, are converted into biogas: it used to be poured down the drain.

Detroit police inspecting equipment found in a clandestine brewery during the Prohibition era.

Treehugger posted a serious article in 2007, but with some amusing asides, on the confiscation of alcohol at the Swedish border. As Treehugger says ‘As clever as the new solution is, you have to question the intelligence of an organisation that would annually destroy 185,000 gallons of booze, especially in a country (Sweden) where you have to take out a bank loan to buy a beer’ – and that was four years ago!

He goes on to say that the confiscated alcohol is converted into biogas for the public transport system after being ‘pumped into a big tank’, that is jokingly called “the giant cocktail” before being trucked away for conversion.

A row of alcoholic beverages – in this case, spirits – in a bar

The UK Border Agencies, responsible for the south coast, confiscated over £1,000,000 worth of alcohol in the last week of November – the week of the snow! It appeared that illegal traders were attempting to avoid paying excise duty and VAT (value added tax), while if sold on the black market, the buyers would then also have avoided paying tax . The amount confiscated was ten times more than in 2009 ... a sign of the times?

I never thought I’d be writing about pulverising rocks to create rock dust – you’d think we have enough dust around anyway .... but of course rock dust is a non-synthetic organic fertiliser consisting of crushed volcanic basalt, which contains minerals and trace elements – nature’s answer for soil fertility and organic farming.

There’s a plant in Scotland and another in Townsville, in the far north of Queensland, Australia ... which at the moment is in the centre of the severe Australian floods – it appears another storm warning has been issued – the rains seem incessant ...

An example of columnar basalt at Sheepeater Cliff in Yellowstone Park

In the days before we knew of the continent of Australia, forays had been made into Africa with trading routes being established which could feed the travelling merchants, or on their return enrich their masters with new wealth .... plants, birds, animals, minerals ...

Upper Body of the Helmeted Guineafowl

... turkeys in the Americas were first encountered by the colonising Europeans and were originally thought to be a type of guinea fowl (also known as turkey fowl) due to the overland route from Africa, via Turkey through which they were introduced to Europe, hence the name which stuck.

While we’re on the subject of litter this is a list from Wikipedia of how long it affects the environment – perhaps it is a list we should be encouraged to remember and pass on?

Paper and paperboard: 6 months
Cigarette butts: 2 – 5 years
Plastic (PET) soda bottles: 5 – 10 years
Plastic shopping bags: 10 – 30 years
Gum: 20 – 25 years
Polystyrene pieces: 90 years
Tin Can: 80 – 100 years
Aluminium Can: 200 – 400 years
Six Pack bottle wrapping: 450 years
Golf ball: 100 – 1,000 years

...and WikiAnswers tells me it takes 355 years for each disposable baby diaper/nappy to decompose ...

Compost bin for small-scale production of organic fertilizer

This article “How long does it take for waste materials to decompose?” from June 2008, gives some references and other thoughts, including decomposition with the addition of water, and the oceanic effect ...

... came from 'That Danny!' who covers new media, marketing, news, popular culture, search, stories of the day, customer service and web 2.0/3.0/4.0 shenanigans. It also uncovers 'Internet Ghosts', and the mood of Internet as reflected by search trend topics. He explains why there’s an eclectic mix of topics ...

... sounds a little like me – except I’m just me, and write what I feel or find out about – for example finding Danny Dagan!! (PS I see he hasn't posted for nearly a year ...)

Dear Mr Postman – my mother had a bright day on New Year’s Eve .. she wanted to know about the blog, and remembered ‘teeth’ .. on your blog, she said. I showed her George Washington .. she said the new President came from Kenya .. ; then yesterday she wanted me to dance with ‘George’ – he’s one of her fictitious children .. and was determined I had to dance!! She’s been sleeping ever since – she can’t dance .. because as she describes it ‘she has boots on’ (from her strokes)!!! She continues to amaze me!

Anyway here we are in 2011 .. and due to a family need I will be a little scarce, I’ll be around .. but unfortunately have to go to Cornwall ..

HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone ...

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories


Rosaria Williams said...

This was fun,functional and inspirational! Happy New Year to you.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Rosaria .. many thanks .. couldn't resist the connection .. and different to all the other posts around ..

you too - have a wonderful and Happy New Year .. Hilary


Fun and interesting to read.

Take care.

Mason Canyon said...

I always learn much when I stop by here. I never realized how long these items impacted the earth. Glad your Mom enjoyed New Year's Eve. Wishing you both a wonderful and Happy New Year. Have a safe trip to and from Cornwall.

Thoughts in Progress

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Thanks Yvonne .. glad you enjoyed it and learnt something new I hope!

Cheers - you too have a good New Year .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Mason .. I know it's awful when we read just these items - let alone all the other rubbish we produce.

Yes - we had some fun hours together .. and thank you - I hope to travel safely ..

Have a wonderful 2011 .. Hilary

Theresa Milstein said...

What an informative post! I had no idea about pulverizing rock to fertilize. And the stats for how long items take to decompose is frightening. Sadly, when the stuff is piled up in landfills, sometimes it takes even longer.

I never though about what happened to the alcohol. My grandmother used to go to speakeasies with my grandfather.

Betsy Wuebker said...

Happy New Year, Hilary! Hope you have a safe journey to Cornwall. Cornish heroes are many, but my favorite is Rick Rescorla, who fought bravely in Vietnam, and then perished on 9-11, but not before he escorted all but two of his firm's employees down safely from one of the Towers, singing "Men from Cornwall..." in the stairwell. Many witnesses to his bravery. Cheers!

LTM said...

LOL--good stuff! thanks, Hil~ <3

Anonymous said...

Hi Hilary, thanks for stopping by and saying hi. I've taken a hiauts for the holidays and am just getting back into the swing of things. Have a terrific New Year. 2011 holds big things in store and I'm expecting big things for us in Blogdom.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Theresa .. thank you - useful information to remember .. because we so easily forget. And you're right it'll take longer in landfill and probably produce methane in the process.

I had forgotten that was where the name Speakeasy came from .. interesting that your grandparents visited them.

Thanks Theresa for adding to the mix - enjoy this coming year and long may your support with your school kids continue on .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Betsy .. Happy New Year to you too .. and you're back - hope your trip was happy and successfully accomplished .. I'll see your post shortly!

I sort of remember the name 'Rick Rescoria' .. but thank you for reminding us about his heroism .. and singing as he rescued everyone .. "Men from Cornwall" ..

Betsy a lovely tribute for two poignant periods in history .. thank you for commenting about them.

Cheers - have a wonderful year ahead .. many happy times and laughter .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Leigh .. thanks for coming by - and glad you enjoyed the littering! Have a very good New Year .. Hils

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Stephen - good to see you back and glad to hear you had a good break with the family - essential times to recover.

I'm sure your year will deliver ever more exciting things .. and I can only wish you lots of success with your trilogy ..

Blogdom is a great place to be - lots of support around .. see you here and there .. Happy New Year ... cheers Hilary

Anonymous said...

Interesting post. It takes 20 - 25 years for gum to decompose? This is chewing gum, right?

Happy New Year to you and your mom!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Susanne ..thank you - I think it must be chewing gum. Have you seen it being cleared off the pavements with a high pressure hose - I hate to think how much that costs too .. but people will just leave it anywhere or chuck it anywhere.

Thanks so much .. I hope 2011 will be kinder to me! but we go on, and as long as my mother is comfortable and peaceful - I can't ask for anything else.

Happy New Year to you too - and thanks for visiting .. Hilary

TALON said...

Happy New Year to you and your mother, Hilary!

Really great reminder to be thoughtful about how we handle the residue of our lives...

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Talon - thanks for your thoughts and lovely seeing you here.

As you say - refuse is a bit daunting .. especially buying everything at the supermarkets - all packaged up.

Have a good new year .. Hilary

Tristan said...

Wow. There's so much about booze that I didn't know!

Great post as always, Hilary. I like your blog because I never really know what to expect. It's always something unique and interesting that I've never heard before, so thanks for that!!

Southpaw said...

Happy New Year! Great article for the new year.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Tristan - good to see you and glad I enlightened you a little.

Thanks - that's why I like writing it .. it amuses me too! I really appreciate the comment .. and sentiment you express.

Have a really successful 2011 - I suspect you will have .. all the best - Hilary

J.D. Meier said...

I didn't think of rock for fertilizer, but it really does continue the cycle of life.

It looks like the business of booze never goes out of style, and it is one of those businesses that seems to boom when the economy tumbles.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Holly .. love your new design .. and thank you .. the post is different - thought I'd stand out in the crowd!

Happy New Year and success in 2011 - Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi JD .. welcome back and hope you had a good break.

The cycle of life continues on .. and the link ups always amaze me - when a friend mentioned this, along with the turkey litter, then the confiscated booze on the news .. it just sort of tied together.

Yes - booze is always somewhere around - propping up the economy maybe, but not doing anyone much good ..

Have a good year - I suspect you will .. thanks for coming by - Hilary

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I had to fight to get my husband to recycle cans and plastic until one day I said, "You'd be doing this for your grandchildren." Perked him right up. The other thing, my mum once stuck a nail in a can of coke, probably 40 years ago. The nail broke down. I tried the experiment again about 20 years ago. Nothing happened. Maybe I didn't wait long enough? One week.

Great post, Hilary.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Joylene .. you're right - it's when we realise it is the future of our grandchildren .. and quite often we seem to need that jolt.

Coke is one of the best 'cleaners' around .. people have plenty of ideas for cans of coke .. so your mother's experiment may well have been right. The formula's been changed over the years too .. so perhaps it's not as astringent as it used to be?

Thanks Joylene .. hope your lake is clear of pollutants and rubbish - have an excellent year .. Hilary

Short Poems said...

Interesting article for the new year.
Happy 2011 Hilary
Marinela x

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Marinela .. a little different! But something we all need to think about ..

You too - have a wonderful 2011- Hilary

Anonymous said...

I hate to think about all the rubbish that sits. I hate to have to contribute to some of it.

It is always a learning experience to read your posts. I'm glad I found you, and wish for you, also, a great new year!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Ann .. it is awful isn't it - now I'm watching people chew gum and thinking 20+ years .. it's a bit discomforting to put it mildly!! and they've been chewing it after smoking a cigarette! so the butt also takes over 2 years to decompose. Not a nice thought ..

So pleased to hear you enjoy coming here - I try to offer something unusual or different.

You too .. I hope you both have a lovely blessed year .. thanks for your thoughts - Hilary

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

I love how you were able to tie these things together.

The statistics about how long our litter stays with us was very sobering.

Happy New Year.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Jane .. great to see you here and thank you.

It is rather sobering (good word) about how long our litter sticks around .. especially as this list is only mentions a few items & not all the minerals we alter.

You too - have a really good writing year .. and a very happy 2011 - Hilary

Anonymous said...

Wow! I had to read this post twice. A lot of info to consume and digest. I never thought about the name turkey being derived from the New Guinea fowl migrating through Turkey. Well ... that only makes sense.

Thanks for the lesson. I always learn something new here. Have a great New Year!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Steve .. thank you - just back from Cornwall. We just have a lot of history to be where we are .. and it's always so interesting how things happened .. but perhaps more so because researchers have found out how flora and fauna have moved or merged as the world has opened up via the trading routes.

Glad you enjoyed it .. good to see you - yes - you too have a great New Year .. Hilary

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Hilary, that was an awesome post! I had no idea that it took so long for some things to decompose. I'm soooo glad I recycle. I wouldn't be able to live with the guilt.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

OOps! I forgot to say Happy New Year, Hilary...

Happy New Year!

Linda said...

More reasons why we should all recycle. I put my bins out every week. Thanks for opening people's eyes. All the best for the new year.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sharon .. thank you .. when we're presented with the facts it is always a little eye-opening.

I recycle too .. though this year I'm going to try to buy with things loose and go to the Farmers Market, when possible.

I'd love it if everyone didn't litter the road and kerbsides ..

Thank you for the Happy New Year wishes - you too .. lots of joy and happiness .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Linda .. it is so important isn't it .. and we always just need to be reminded to recycle, not to use too much packaging etc etc

Thank you - you too have a really good 2011 ..

Blue Bunny said...

derist my hilree, my jannie stil sleeping so i geting started in the dae!

i nevir knew how turkies got there name. i lieks the histree in that. kind of like the amerikan indian tale and the trade roots they traviled.

and hoo knew that rocks made good fertililizer for gardins! I must try to krush up some basalt for my karrits.

hopping yoo is wel!

Blue Bunny wit loves.

oh, did hardwick danse wit yor mamma too??


Joanne said...

Every now and then I come across these types of facts about decomposing materials. The good that might come from reading them is that it really makes us think and choose wisely, as consumers. There are always options we can make, with one perhaps better than the other.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi BB .. you hav a new outfeet .. duz Miss Jannie knows .. you looks veries smartz - I luvs yor avotar ...

Ecksacktly .. ze amerikan indians end de Persians, Romans, Asterix' Gauls .. tales and travails.

Ah ah don't growze de karrits too bigs - dey need to fit the Pond Tube ..

Me is hopping well .. tired hopping well - travels to see the Pirates of Penzance is tiring the old girl out!! Need a BB hug - big one?!

Nope .. Hardwick rests easily with my Mamma .. whilz George end I dansies!! Good to see you back .. Happy News Year ... with lots of hugs xoxoxox Hilree

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Joanne .. thanks for coming here .. I'd rather have my booze to drink and not confiscated and turned into fertiliser - seems a sensible idea for 2011!!

You're so right .. each nudge reminds us that there are other ways to reduce our waste further .. and there are always options .. I think not buying is one?!

Happy New Year .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Ola - Magno .. thank you for commenting again - it is good to see you.

Do you understand English? I have asked a friend to translate the Portuguese for me!

Bye for now - Hilary

vered said...

I would never have been able to answer the question in the title! Your posts are always chock full of fascinating information.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Vered .. great to see you here .. well - glad to know the title hooked you in It's just looking at things in a different light .. and adding a little extra 'useless' information that's interesting to me - and by the look of it you too .. Have a really happy New Year .. Hilary

Patricia Stoltey said...

Those decomposition statistics are depressing. Even so, I'll bet not many disposable-diaper-loving moms will want to switch to the inconvenience of cloth diapers.

Patricia said...

Happy New Year to you and your mum - and all...I too have been scarce this new year waiting for my computer repair and just finding I need some time off after all the company and activities.

I enjoyed your list of how long it takes things to break down - I knew about nappies and posted on biking architect about how many millions of pound of toxic wrapping paper is tossed away in the USA during this holiday season- and to think we handled all that toxic paper/and our children and that the sales receipts in our hands are full of that toxic plastic that gets into breast milk....scary stuff.

trying to start the year flowing and not pushing the river, but thinking lots about you and yours.
Hope all is well

Connie Arnold said...

Thanks for sharing the interesting and useful information, Hilary. We really need to be aware of what happens with what we dispose of and try to find ways to reduce our waste.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Patricia .. unfortunately I'm sure you're right - disposable nappies are something that we won't want to do away with. Also everything we do leaves an imprint on this earth and decomposition statistics make pretty terrible reading ..

Depressing thoughts .. but have a good and happy New Year and thanks for coming by - Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Patricia .. I do hope you get your machine back, or one that holds up and doesn't let you down. Glad you're taking time to get over the rush of the seasonal festivities and visits.

I know you'll appreciate the effect these things will have on future lives - it's something the manufacturers need to address more fully.

Good for you to keep a perspective on the New Year .. I hope the year is as happy and comfortable as can be - lovely to see you here .. and the same to you - a very peaceful and happy 2011 .. Mum and I are "fine" ticking along .. cheers Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Connie .. good to see you and glad you found the information a memory jogger .. as you say we really need to all do our bit & more. Have a good year .. and thank you for coming by .. Hilary

Mandy Allen said...

Hi Hilary, Happy New Year to you too! When I was a child we used to go to Cornwall in our caravan. I haven't been since then but it is on my list of places to visit! It seems such a distance from Norfolk, but then so is Scotland and I go there often!

Enjoy the journey.


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Mandy ... good to see you back - I hope you had a reasonable Christmas break - but more importantly will have a very good 2011.

I agree going to Norfolk is miles!! - but a few days with a bit of relaxation in between should make a visit a little bit of fun?! We tend each to have our own little areas we love to visit .. Cornwall has been 'my life' other than where I happen to be living ..

Scotland is another land .. one day I'll get further north than St Andrews and Glasgow!!

Here's to a happy New Year .. Hilary

Glynis Peters said...

The dumped rubbish situation is a terrible one. Here in Cyprus they dump everything on the roadside and in glorious fields. Very sad.

Thanks for visiting my blog, and for your encouraging, supportive comment!

Talli Roland said...

Happy New Year, Hilary!

I wonder if the Border Agencies are ever tempted to take some of the alcohol and have a little party of their own?! Can you imagine?

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Glynis .. how right you are - and I honestly think England is a third world country sometimes with the rubbish that's just left lying around - no-one cares .. and as you say "very sad".

It's a pleasure - and good to see you here .. your new home looks wonderful .. just what I need: a lie down in a sunlit vineyard!!

See you soon - happy new year .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

You too Talli .. what a wonderful 2010 was for you & it'd be great if 2011 would surpass it!!

I wouldn't be surprised .. if there were a few extra parties along the way .. I'd hate to imagine?! Good plot line for a book ...?!

Cheers enjoy and have fun in 2011 .. Hilary

Arlee Bird said...

Another mix of fascinating information. I wonder how they come up with those rate of decomposition figures? Best of everything to you and your family in 2011. Hope all goes well for you in Cornwall.

Tossing It Out

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Lee .. thank you - and to answer your question .. I don't know - but I suppose some they can work out .. others .. 450 years for a six pack wrapper - don't think they've been around that long?!

There are scientific methods aren't there for these sort of things .. where they can speed tests up etc .. they do it for washing machines, dishwashers, cars etc I believe?

Thank you for your thoughts - I'm sure we'll all have good years - glad you're safely back in CA .. having had a wonderful family trip. All the best for 2011 - Hilary

Liara Covert said...

We can choose to focus on what feels good and notice that brings more and more reasons to feel uplifted. Alternatively, we can dwell on information that evokes restlessness or discomfort and prepare to experience more reasons to feel the same way. We are each in charge of our own emotional journey. You decide whether anything or nothing bothers you. Every choice shapes your vibration and experience.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Liara .. we certainly are in charge of our own emotional journey .. and how we affect the planet as we go through life.

Being aware of nature and its needs is so important to life's ability to look after us, humans - we need to do our bit too.

Every choice shapes the vibration and experience of Mother Earth .. excellent points - thank you ..Hilary