Today I am a frustrated eco-warrior. The photo shows a pair of old-fashioned clinical thermometers, the kind that, if you were lucky, your mum put under your tongue when you were trying for a day off school. If you were unlucky, they're what the school nurse used to threaten to stick up your anus, just to make quite sure you were indeed 100% fit to play rugby on a frozen pitch scattered with iced goose shit on a bitter Saturday morning in February (a local farmer rented the land during the week).
I'm frustrated because "doing the right thing" failed. In a fit of decluttering, I took these unwanted thermometers out of my medicine cabinet and straight to my local pharmacy, to the counter where they accept unused medication for its safe disposal. Safety was my motivator: this old pair of home doctoring tools contain more than enough mercury to ruin a domestic ecosystem, so I really didn't want them to end up in a landfill site. It's bad enough that the thin glass tubes were within easy chomping distance of my teeth when I was a child, but hey, they were still putting lead in paint back then, so why should I have been worried about the risk of swallowing a little deadly poison? "DON'T BITE" was all I was ever told. The reason? "These things are expensive".
So my minor but sincere attempts at saving the planet this week, an activity not to be taken lightly, have, so far, failed.