88th: Be not tedious in discourse, make not many digressions, nor repeat often the same manner of discourse.
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FIRST, TAKE SOME GARBAGE...
21 November 2004
Some cities worry about the homeless problem.
Other cities may worry about the rising crime rate, gang violence, hate crimes, or lack of funding for schools.
In some cities it is a traffic flow problem, and how to reduce it during rush hour.
In Davis, the city which has given the world historic potholes, a multi-thousand dollar toad tunnel, and citations for snoring, the big topic du jour is garbage. Or, more specifically, the disposal of garbage.
The Davis Waste Removal Company has supplied every home in Davis with brand new "trash carts" to replace the dilapidated old cans we've been using all these years (our metal can was so corroded that we had to put our garbage can in the garbage!)
Called "A Program to be Proud of," the new trash cart give-away has been big news in the local newspaper for a long time. We've received informational packets about what to expect and now that we have been supplied with our two new carts (one for regular garbage and one for recycling), we have received a lovely multi-colored, slick brochure explaining to us how to throw away garbage.
Astronauts don't receive as much instruction before heading off on a moon jaunt as we have received about the disposal of waste in this town!
The first notable thing about our new trash cans is that we have gone from a thirty gallon can to a ninety-five gallon can (uh...excuse me..."trash cart." I gotta start getting the lingo down). There was some debate about what size everyone would need and it was suggested that if you didn't think you would regularly fill up a 95 gallon trash cart that you request a smaller size and then on those weeks when you are going to have more trash, share a neighbor's cart.
Well, (a) our neighbors already don't like us, and (b) I periodically go through spurts of cleaning which would easily fill a 95 gallon cart, so we opted for the default size. I could just imagine running next door on the day after Christmas and asking our neighbors if we can fill their trash can with our discarded wrapping paper and ribbon and turkey carcass.
The new "how to throw away garbage" brochure does let me know, however, that if I want to change the size of my trash cart they will change it for me once during a year's period of time, but if I want to change it twice, there will be a $20 charge.
It also tells me that now that my 30 gallon can is obsolete, I can put it inside the 95 gallon cart and the DWR folks will recycle it for me. It does, however, offer the tip that the older, smaller cans can be useful for hauling garbage to the newer, larger cans. I knew there was some practical reason for hanging onto the old cans.
But throwing stuff away in Davis is more complicated than just filling up a 95 gallon trash cart and taking it to the curb for the trucks to pick up.
We also have a 95 gallon recycling can, which is divided into two parts, one for paper products and one for bottles and plastic. The paper side will accept newspaper, cereal and dry food boxes, copy paper, colored paper, computer paper, envelopes, junk mail, magazines, phone books, scrap paper, wrapping paper, grocery bags, vellum paper and egg cartons. With the sort of mail that we get, I could pretty much stand by the mailbox and toss most of the mail directly into the paper side of the recycling bin!
Glass and plastic gets a bit more tricky. It will take bottles and food jars, but if you break a lightbulb, mirror or glass over a photo frame, that becomes garbage and can't go in the glass recycle cart.
It will also accept plastic, but only #1 and #2 (which sounds like a little kid headed off to the bathroom). Apparently all sorts of metal is acceptable including aluminum, tin, and steel cans, aluminum foil cake and pie plates, TV dinner trays (do they still have those?), empty aerosol cans and empty paint cans.
The brochure also tells us how to place the cans for pick-up, which is "wheels in the street, against the curb with the cart opening facing the street no earlier than 5 p.m. prior to the day of pick-up. The carts should be three feet apart and at least three feet from parked vehicles. " They should also not block bike lanes.
I'm not sure how that works on our street, where the bike lane is about the size of the width of the trash cart!
This is going to take some getting used to. I'm an old person and change like this doesn't come easy. I'm going to have to post these instructions and study them carefully so I know how to throw away garbage from now on.
It used to be so simple--just toss it in the bag and be done with it!
But this is a town which goes overboard on minutae. This comes from having a low crime rate (we just had our first murder in 6 years), an invisible homeless population, pretty good schools, and little traffic flow problems.
Last night we went to see Six Characters in Search of an Author at the University. To get to the theatre, you park in a nearby university lot. After you park your car, you walk to the front of the lot and buy a pass from a machine and then take it back to your car and place it on the dash.
Walt sent me on ahead to the theatre to pick up the tickets and I thought it rather odd that it took him longer than usual to catch up with me.
Turns out that he was in line to buy a parking pass when the campus parking officer decided to give him a ticket for being parked without a parking pass! He was able to talk the officer out of the ticket, fortunately (it's a hefty sum; I've been caught there before).
Of course if he had been issued a ticket, we could have brought it home and deposited it in the recycling trash cart and wheeled it out to the curb for pick-up on garbage day, 'cause we know how to do that now.
Website of the Day
Also check out The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee to see what wonderful work these people are doing for rescued elephants.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Tossing the fleece on shearing day.
Photo by Claire Amy Atkins