Garbage-in; garbage-out. It was all once so easy, sigh

Oh, my old man's a dustman,
He wears a dustman's hat,
He wears cor-blimey trousers
And he lives in a council flat.

Lonnie Donegan 

Today is what we refer to as ‘garbage day’ around our house. It’s the day the Dustman Cometh. And GD is yet another one of those elements of society that has become more complicated with the passing years.

What was once a simple matter of disposing of your household effluvia has now joined the legion of human practices that must not only be politically-correct but, I daresay, must indeed be adorned with the ‘green’ mantle. Nope, it’s no longer appropriate to just shift your shit.

No, we have to divide it. It (depending on its description) is either garbage (i.e. trash, crud) or ‘recycling’ (the stuff that we are told but rarely believe will ultimately be turned into bicycles or duvets). Categorization demands we ponder the characteristics of the item in question. Kitchen waste of many descriptions=garbage. Tin cans, cardboard containers, plastic containers, plastic milk jugs=recycling. But, if it’s Styrofoam, for example that irritating stuff (which could be easily turned into horrible tasteless rice biscuits) isn’t deemed recycling. And then there’s glass. The recycle boys don’t take glass. So glass must be taken to the bottle-depot.

See, complicated. Furthermore, they also pick up yard-waste on the same day. So, if you have clippings, cuttings, branches, etc. They have to go into a separate (and so designated) yard waste bin. Tuesday mornings can be very demanding on our street.

Now, all of this stuff is done in the name of environmental wellness. Jolly good thing except for one logical inconsistency.

Whereas we once had one huge diesel-fumes spewing garbage truck that picked up ‘everything’, we are now visited by three huge diesel-fumes spewing trucks to pick up those items from their designated categories. And God help you if you put any of the wrong items in a designated container. If any of the ‘specialists’ on the truck spot your transgression, said item will be dumped on the boulevard and the boys on the truck will no doubt think less of you for eternity.

I’ve often wondered what it’s like to work on a refuse-collection vehicle. I guess you have to be pretty strong. At the same time, I gather the pay is decent (and it should be). But, I cannot imagine that a poll of third-grade students in any school anywhere would find a surfeit of kids that see that chore as being a future career designation. And, I understand why one might not want to spend life in the castaways of others that can range from normal effluvia like coffee grounds, unused string beans or pasta, to soiled knickers or dead cats. Disagreeable.

And then there is the matter or what are now called ‘landfills’, which somehow renders these sites more friendly sounding and maybe a bit more positive than the old fashioned ‘dumps’ or ‘tips’, which references were, however, a lot more honest.

Anyway, dumps get filled up and then we have to figure out what to do with the excess crap when an overflow crisis is reached. That gets us into a whole other realm I’m not about to enter here. And at least we can take solace in knowing ‘all’ our recycling is indeed turned into saintly items to help the human race.



8 responses to “Garbage-in; garbage-out. It was all once so easy, sigh

  1. So Canada is going the way of Britain – that is, if you put your rubbish in the wrong bin you’ll be punished and, sometimes, even fined.

    Here in Paris, we have a similar system. I have a large green bin for ordinary household waste; yellow bin for plastic bottles and cardboard things; another bin for glass and, it has just been discontinued, a receptacle for newspapers. Newspapers now go in yellow bin. So down to three bins from four. The green bin is collected THREE times a week (Monday, Wednesday and Saturday) and the yellow once a week on Thursday. The glass bin is collected Tuesday every other week.

  2. I used to be a recycler….
    Food waste went to the chickens…I used milk cartons as pots for seedlings…
    I composted my greenstuff in my own garden and went to the dump when i had a trailer’s worth, returning thence with objects useful to me if not to the previous owner.
    As far as I can see the actual practice of recycling is yet another green con.

    • You get more frequent pick up than do we. Garbage once a week, but recycling only fortnightly and you end up accumulating a lot. And, of course, newspapers go with the recycling.

      • Dear Fly, inadvertenly put Dumdad’s comment after yours. And of course it’s another green con, and the polluting pick up vehicles prove that to be so.

  3. And then there’s the times you miss the pickup altogether because you mistakenly thought that they wouldn’t be working on a stat holiday and so you didn’t put your garbage and recycling out, and so you have to hang onto all your garbage and recycling for an extra week, along with what you produce regularly every week, and your receptacles are overflowing and threatening to take over your garage entirely … at least that’s what I’ve been told …

  4. I can’t help but think that the recycling truck just creeps into the landfill after dark and dumps its stuff there.

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