Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Trash Can

I was going to talk about war in my next blog, but decided it was a bit too harsh for my first blog entry in 2 months. So instead I decided to go with something else somewhat less important and closer to home: trash.

No debate as to how garbage is important. Suffice to say that toxic waste disposal, for instance, does have serious consequence on the environment and on the populace.  Maybe not creating as many deaths as war, but certainly cause for concern.

What I want to talk about is people.

In Gatineau, we are allowed to bring up to five (5) garbage bags at a time to the curb for disposal.

“OH MY GOD,” rants some well-meaning moron in the letters section of the Ottawa Citizen.  He immediately makes a case as to how only 2 bags are allowed in his neighbourhood of Ottawa, and cannot conceive of putting out 5 bags! And then goes on about trash-nazi controls with silly stickers for each bag.

Obviously this man accumulates his spring-cleaning somewhere in his vast basement and puts it out one bag a week along his other one bag.  Hopefully he didn’t have guests with small children over for a weekend and had to stow rancid bags of crap, in his vast storage area, in order to wait for the allowed disposal next week.

Obviously he had misread the article or was misinformed.  The good folk in Gatineau, and I say this very loosely, seem to put only one bag to the curb on any given week!  Since the article came out, I’ve made a point of watching my neighbour’s habits.

I’d say 9 houses, of each 10, will have a single bag, or regular size garbage can, on any given week. The family of four across my circle will fairly consistently have 2 bags at the curb but not always.  My own neighbour and I sometimes skip a week. Occasionally three or more bags show up alongside a roll of carpet, duly cut up in 3-foot bundles.  Hardly the constant weekly 5-bag output our idiotic denizen was bitching about.

When I read things like this, I think that this planet is truly in trouble. Then I take comfort in that everyone on my block recycles. The recycling is every two weeks and the amount of recycling is commensurate with the anointed 2 bags of trash.

Now a case could be made that both recycling and garbage should take up no more than 2 bags. That would be quite the accomplishment. This might yield to civil unrest and old mattresses thrown off trucks into nearby patch of trees, or busted sofas accidentally dropped on a cement divider of a major artery. Don’t laugh; I’ve seen it done.

In a previous entry, I talked about my old fridge being dumped into a regular garbage truck and crushed like any other trash, to my utter disbelief. And my wife clued in yesterday that the city of Gatineau is actually not recycling anything at all. The recycle-collector simply threw all the steel, plastic and paper fibres into one vat and crushed it all, just like my fridge.  

This has been going on for over 10 years now, and not a single thing in Gatineau has been recycled yet, at least not to my knowledge. Heck, I’ve even heard they fine people for mis-sorting.

Actually, cedars were recycled for free, but the city has trashed a symbiotic contract they had with the cedar recyclers, so we have to pay for this disposal ourselves… guess where it all winds up now? The good people, I use that term loosely, can be pushed and poked and prodded to be good citizens, but just so much apparently.  

So my wife asks me why we bothered to wash our plastics and glass bottles before sorting them into our green box, as per the city’s instructions. I told her the local gubmint just wants to instil good recycling habits on their citizens and give the illusion they actually give a rat’s ass…

Then I pause for a second, and I look at her deadpan: “kind’a makes you regret wasting all that water to rinse-out and clean the shit, don’t it?”

Gubmint: a derogatory red-neck homonym & synonym used instead of the word government.


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