I try to show the good and the bad on this blog. There are many good things that have come out of our relocation to Panama. However, there are also frustrations that we have to learn to deal with too.
For those that are not familiar with the Northwest - USA....
We moved here from Oregon and that part of the world is very into recycling and environmental responsibility. Recycling is part of everyday life there.
It is just not part of the culture here yet. There are recycling containers in the city, but people just put trash in all of them and the barrels all go into the same garbage truck at the end of the week.
There is a group of expats that have started a recycling program. However, you must be able to go down to the fairgrounds on a certain day between certain hours once a week or so, and it changes on what they take from time to time. There is no permanent structures in place that you can put recycling when you go to town yet. Hopefully, the country as a whole will start to make recycling a real thing here.
Today, the school had their Earth Day and they have been teaching the kids about recycling for a few weeks now. However, some of the obvious recycling efforts are not even touched.
This country is a paper society. Everything is paper and more paper....things in triplicate and the system for making payments to agencies is even worse. There is no online payment options for most things and after you drive to the office, you might then have to drive to their bank and bring back a paper receipt and then get another form.....
The one thing they do have going for it as far as recycling or reusing is beer bottles and Coke bottles. These are sanitized and then reused, but only for the few companies that have bottling plants locally.
Below are a couple of pictures from their mandatory, Sunday Earth Day celebration. The first one was a display made by the kids, which was probably fun for them to make assuming they did not cut themselves, but at the end of the celebration, I can only assume that it all is going in the garbage, hopefully not though. The second picture shows how they used plastic ties that will be thrown away instead of reusable rope or something biodegradable.
At least they have started talking about recycling and I just have to remember that even in Oregon, they probably did not recycle in the beginning.....although, they have recycled as long as I can remember. :)
We are not perfect, but we do try to recycle or reuse as much as we can. There is always room for improvement!
Here are a few of the things we currently do.
There have been many posts about shipping here. It is one of the dreaded tasks that we do frequently because of the coffee business.
I am not sure that I could ever truly explain how complicated and painful it really is.
In this last shipment, we had to get a total weight of just the coffee. Instead of weighing the box empty and then again full, Rick had to stack all of the coffee bags on the scale in front of the postal worker. The bags kept falling and some where actually not really on the scale when they took the weight.
The brown box had to be wrapped in brown paper, you cannot just use a plain brown box. The paper has to be glued to the box, so we do this 1 to 2 days before we ship anything, to allow for the glue to dry properly.
But, you have to leave the top open until you get through with all of the postal processes in the office. Then you finish glueing the top while you are there.
We never know the exact price until they give it to us, it changes all of the time and I think some of that is depending on what scale they are using that day. But, you have to come prepared with exact change or very close to it. Sometimes they have required exact change and they only accept cash.
I totally understand why most places here will not do small shipping. Most coffee companies will only do large container orders and go through a shipping broker. Thankfully, some months we are allowed to use the yellow/brownish large envelopes for really small shipments.
The good news is this is the lowest price-per-pound we have ever been charged. No idea why though....
We have both cars working right now. (Although, both cars were at the mechanics this last week.) Here is one of the parts off of Rick's truck. He had to have the clutch assembly replaced....sigh. This is the throw-out bearing. Luckily it did not actually grenade while it was in the car. The clutch was shot also. It was a hassle, but it's hard to complain too much when the total labor bill was $150 and this is a very difficult vehicle to remove the transmission.