Nothing goes to waste in México. Plastic pop bottles turn into small paint containers, musical instruments or a soapy water squirt bottle for a windshield washing business. Discarded cardboard is used for a door mat when it’s rainy. I believe that the 5 gallon paint bucket is the most coveted item of all. At the top of this post you’ll see how the car wash man on our street locks up his buckets when he goes home for mid-day comida. They are valuable items!
Mazatlán’s Centro Historico is full of enterprising men who wash cars all day, and they make good use of recycled buckets. One bucket of water will wash one entire car, too!
Each car wash guy has a territory. They’ve made an arrangement with someone within their territory to use their water, and most of the day they will direct cars into a saved space and offer to wash it for a nominal fee. (Here in Mazatlán, that’s usually from 30 to 50 pesos.) In the picture above do you see a backpack hanging over the buckets? That belongs to the car wash man, and are a common sight here and there in Centro. Of course no one bothers them.
When they get going in the morning, first order of business is to fill some buckets and stake out your spot.
But buckets are used for much more than car washing. The ones below belong to us. We put them in the street when we need to save a place for a delivery truck. Everyone does it. Sometimes I’d like to put them out when I’m going grocery shopping, but that would be an abuse of bucket protocol, I think.
In the picture below workers are delivering supplies up a practically inaccessible street!
When we did some gardening on our roof patio, all the dirt was hauled up by hand, bucket by bucket.
There isn’t a lot of formal recycling in our town – as there is only one recycling center – but there is a lively informal recycling effort here, don’t you think?