Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Garbage woes

The last time our garbage was picked up was on December 11th. We then had a snow storm, Christmas and snow, several unsuccessful make-up pick-up days, and our regular pick-up this coming Thursday has been postponed until Friday due to Thursday being New Years Day.

The other day, our neighbor, who we refer to as "Chinese grandpa" (I know, not very PC) spent the better part of an hour condensing his recycling so that as much as possible would fit in the bin. Now, he does have more family member than we do, but his house is also about triple the size of ours, which a huge garage to stash stuff, if necessary. With the holidays; presents and hosting several dinners, we had trash and recycling stacked up into our pantry/laundry room, which made a seemingly simple task of, say, retrieving a can of beans, a treacherous operation.

Today, Jacob took all of the extra bags that did not fit in the containers anymore outside because, with everybody else having created an actual mountain of garbage bags around the recycling bins, our few bags were not going to make matters much worse anyway. I'm very happy to have the laundry room space back! Sadly, it's starting to look like the world in Wall-E on our street, though.

When we lived in the Marshall Islands, we discovered that waste management, like plumbing, running water and ready access to information, is a luxury. There is no garbage pick-up, let alone recycling and with all the imported junk, stuff ends up in the lagoon. Waste management means burning stuff in a hole, which is great for your inner pyromaniac, but not all that practical and it causes a variety of health concerns.

Seattle, of course, has a very well developed garbage and recycling system. They even collect our food and yard waste separately and this coming March, we will be able to recycle just about everything, from meat and dairy to Styrofoam take-out containers. When we lived in Indiana, we would save up all of our recycling in the water heater room, then load up the car and actually drive it to the recycling center because our apartment complex did not subscribe to the recycling program.

All this is to say that I will be very happy when our garbage will be picked up this Friday. In fact, there are several times a day when I calculate how many more days it will be before this joyous occasion and I imagine the relief and gratitude I will feel when the unsightly mountain of trash (not to mention all of the containers that have been left outside for a while now) be gone.

The trash collectors union should totally negotiate for a pay raise.

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