Friday, August 14, 2015

Gift Economy and Waste in Spain

Hola, hola~~

So today we are going to be leaving on a little visit to my prima Valentina! (all these rhyming cousin names, right??)

She leaves deep in the forests of the countryside so in the offchance that I may not be able to connect to the internet there, I'm doing this one last post until we get back on Sunday.

I wanted to write about the gift economy in Spain.
As you all know, the ideals of giving without strings to help our fellow man is something I hold dear to my heart, and something that I really wanted to make sure I either manifested here in Spain or least least participated in.

I was pleased to learn right away that there are indeed venues for this sort of thing. Let me explain:

1) Curbside Freebies
Just as in the states, putting your unwanted stuff on the curbside is a surefire way to get rid of obsolete (to you) items, while benefitting some unknown member of your community. The "hot spot" for such things tends to be right by the little mini-dumpsters by the road. I've helped rid the home of a testy CD player that I'm sure somebody will work their magic on...
My aunt explained to me that large-sized dumpsters are being done away with in favor of these small receptacles that actually empty deposited items into an underground catch-all. The reason being to thwart protestors' tendency to overturn/burn/destroy the big dumpsters when they get all riled up! But anyway, back to the gift economy.

2) Barcelona Freecycle
The local freecycle branch seems to be really strong, which multiple posts being made every day. Although I joined immediately upon arriving in Spain, I haven't participated really for the reason of the yahoo-group format. I am honestly just not quite sure how to go about making posts to the group like that, be it in the states or here in Spain. Oh, well!

The FB Gift Economy Group's banner -- Esplugues is littered with these gorgeous statues!!

3) No lo tiro, te lo regalo: Esplugues de Llobregat
Just when I was thinking it's about time I started a Facebook group akin to the Corvallis Families Gift Economy one...around mid-July I discovered that someone already had! And it's a friend of my cousin Bastian of all things!! @_@ 
The format for this one is a little different from the Corvallis one in that the creator made the Group a Retail-type one -- granted you have to list the price as $0. But yeah, I am definitely going to start giving things away through this within the next couple of weeks, to purge our items before we find ourselves with overstuffed suitcases!!

Now I want to say something about the recycling situation here in Spain.
 In my aunt's apartment, she's assured me that most everything can be recycled which is very impressive. Even greasy saran wrap, candy wrappers, and used paper towels @_@

On another note, it's a bummer to go out to eat and find myself with only bottled water as the water option, since apparently the tap water is "that bad". Consequently, I see lots of water bottles (and other recycles!) in rubbish bins around town -- though I think that's symptomatic of the city lifestyle. ;_; I'm glad I thought ahead to bring the children's reusable snack containers for sandwiches and the like, but my one oversight was how much we would have used our reusable water bottles, too. The nice metal canister ones. >_< D'oh!! 

But at least the restaurants I've been to have given us our leftovers, wrapped up in a small piece of aluminum foil, rather than a Styrofoam container. So that's been nice~

 Then just today, a friend posted to the Corvallis group this nifty article about a public fridge that people (and restaurant establishments!) can drop off their food to, for the more cash-pressed community members to partake in. And it's in Spain!!
I think it's such a no-brainer and wonder how the proposal for such a thing would fly in Corvallis...
Something tells me that food safety regulations would have something to say about it, but I am tucking it into the back of my mind to address when I am back in the States...

Well, that is all for now.
I hope you are all able to uphold your own gift economy/light-treading ideals as well, in whatever form that may be.

Until next time, take care and Happy Gift Economy and Waste in Spain!!

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