Living outside of the city, I have the great opportunity to do my environmental duties every Saturday morning. I load the previous week's accumulation of garbage that my wife and daughter have deposited in the trashcans and take them to the disposal facility.

I'm not yet at the point where I have to wear the big white suit with its own oxygen supply, but that day may be drawing close.

Do you ever wonder what is in all of those bags that people throw away? Also, the garbage bags you buy at the grocery store must be made with some type of fibrous materials, or they couldn't hold the huge amounts of garbage we put into them. And if you're like me, you challenge yourself to see how much garbage you can stuff in them until they stretch so paper-thin, that they reach their breaking point.

Anyway, on the way to the facility, I got a phone call from a contractor-friend who had been reading some material on concrete roofs. He was all excited about the longevity of the materials, and the fact that he may never have to re-roof his house again.

The longest part of the conversation was about how his roofing contractor was having problems disposing of the materials that had been replaced. Then he asked, what do you do with the leftover materials from your trucks?

Of course, I had to give him the spiel about reclaimers, settling ponds, and the various other methods of disposing the spent concrete so we can do as much as possible to protect the environment.

The manager of the disposal facility was more than eager to talk when I got there. He pretty much asked me the same question. After a 20-minute conversation with him, I was glad to see the neighbors pulling into the line behind me. That way, I could leave without being rude.

Hanging with home builders

I took the long way home and drove through a couple of subdivisions that were just in the beginning phases. I'm lucky to be living in an area where home builders are still pretty busy. Some of the contractors were burning the excess materials, and others, such as the roofing contractors, were loading and getting ready to haul their trash away. At the end of the subdivision was a washout pit for concrete trucks.

The superintendent for the home builder spotted me and stopped for a little conversation. We'd been making deliveries to this area and he and I became pretty good friends. Not only did he like our service and product, he also rode motorcycles on the weekends, so we had something else in common.

When he started the project, we had talked about containment areas, and the impact and potential cleanup that would have to follow the last phase. We both agreed that it would be more economical for all parties involved to do it this way.

Making my way home, I thought of the many ways we impact the environment with our product. Reclaimers and washout pits are a cost of doing business we do not mind being saddled with. It comes with the territory.

When I got home, I met my wife just outside the garage. She had two more bags that I had forgotten. I told her that I had just released the crane that I had used to load the bags I had just hauled away and that it would just have to wait until after the ballgame was over.

Of course, you know the rest of the story. I made another trip. The things I do to help save the environment.

jimambrose@aol.com