Thursday, April 03, 2008

Trash Collecting

S always brings her empty Zip-Loc lunch bags home from school. In camping parlance, she packs out what she packed in. We’ve never camped. I know that some people will want to believe that S is interested in recycling. That she’d like to see these plastic baggies re-used again and again, never adding to the non-biodegradable detritus clogging up Mother Nature’s arteries.

S does not care.

She puts those empty bags back in her lunchbox because 1) she doesn’t want to walk to the garbage can at school, and 2) she’s afraid the universe may come to a screeching halt and we will run out of garbage at home.

We will not.

I throw these empty Zip-Locs in the garbage because the idea of putting a new meat sandwich into what once held an older meat sandwich makes me want to throw up. The question is what to do with all the garbage? Or rather, with the recyclables. Such a nice word, recyclable. It’s not trash, it’s recyclable. And we do recycle, we have a curbside bin provided by the city and I fill it up every week. The problem is that there is still trash, er, recyclables, to be put in there because The Quartet ingests copious amounts of milk, gingerale and Chef Boyardee. So the left-over trash – I’ve just now decided to call it what it is, trash – piles up. In my home.

I know we can call the city and request an extra curbside bin. We had two at one time, but the extra … disappeared. It was recycled, I imagine. I hope. I have to believe that at some point the trash collector assumes that two bins is a mistake, and an egregious paperwork error has occurred somewhere in the chain of command, and liberates one of them. And I’m left, again, with a pile of trash in my house.

Kristy and I disagree on immediate solutions. She says we should take our neighbor’s bin since he just moved out of town and the house is vacant; let recycling logistics be the home buyer’s dilemma. I say fill up the recycle bin with the appropriate garbage and dump the rest in the big, green can.

We are at an impasse. But, I’m the one taking the garbage out.


Kristy said...

The fact that our regular kitchen trash can overflows almost daily, and can often be seen with an additional and equally-full trash bag sitting on top of it, reinforces my point that the outside bin is not the problem. The rinsed out cans, empty cardboard pizza and waffle and Pop Tart boxes, and partially-completed crossword puzzles would just be piled in a different area of the kitchen. At least the inside recycling area is out of immediate sight!

Secret Agent Mom said...

Rinsed out cans? Oops.

Stacey Greenberg said...

if the neighbor wasn't RIGHT next door i would say just take it. the garbage guys may figure it out when the new person moves in and requests a bin. however, you should at least use it until someone does move in. just request another one!

also fyi, the cardboard and all of your junk mail and school paper and newspaper and magazines can go in a paper bag on top or on the side of your bin.

if you recycle all of that paper, your plastics, aluminum, and glass, i really don't see how you could fill up your green can.

we seriously have one bag of "trash" a week.

katherine said...

I've always heard that it's okay to steal as long as you recycle.

Kristy said...

We haven't totally shifted to recycling all the cardboard since they added that service, mainly because of the space issue. Even so, we create a lot of trash. I'm not sure what all of it is, really. I'm trying to do better with making sure everything that can go in the recycling bin does. But I can't do it alone, people!

Secret Agent Mom said...

"Then you go sort out the recycling. That's not part of it but it's still very important."

warren said...

When i was C's age, one of my chores was to "empty the trash," for which I received the payment of continued room and board. [[hint hint]]

(sigh) If only I knew then that my parents were bound by law to provide food and shelter, I could've demanded some wages.

Naomi Van Tol said...

You need more recycling bins!

Call the City at 576-6851 Ext. #1, and ask for a recycling rep. They deliver to your house, even.

I'm not sure if there's a limit on how many free bins you can get, but you need at least three: one for paper, one for cardboard, and one for the mountain of beer cans -- I mean, the metal/plastic/glass.

We have FOUR bins because we are extravagant like that. They go out to the curb on rotation, usually two at a time.

Kristy said...

Why separate when we don't have to?

Anonymous said...

To request additional/new bins

The Saucier said...

Get a burn barrel. Much more fun.

Naomi Van Tol said...

Why separate when we don't have to?

Well, we separate our newspapers/mail/scrap from our cardboard/pasteboard because it's faster and more convenient for us to stow the first category of recyclable trash behind a living room chair and the second category on the back porch. Obviously you should do whatever works best for your household.

But you are required to keep the clean tree-based stuff separated from the smelly clanky stuff, and that really is a lot easier if you have multiple bins.

Stephanie said...

SAM- Yes!

Naomi- You must be new to this blog- it's Seinfeldian in it's apathy. Don't spoil the fun with responsible facts!

RJA- I can't wait to see the comments on your CA column. I'm working on mine right now.

Stephanie said...

Stephanie- It's not possessive! Hee!