August 31, 2011

Stealth "Recycling" and the New Little Green Bin

Look at these happy little green robots and admire how carefully they were selected to represent all genders and demographics

Head robot of Portland, Mayor Sam Adams (oh the shame he attaches to that illustrious name!) tells his fellow green robots to shape the fuck up: "I want to thank my City Council colleagues for passing a measure today that makes food scrap composting possible. We’re currently sending 29,000 tons of useful food scraps to landfills each year. Beginning October 31, the new waste collection program will let you throw these food scraps in the green yard debris roll cart so they can be turned into useful compost. In addition, your collection schedule will change as less of what you throw away goes in the trash. The green yard debris cart will now be picked up weekly – just like the blue recycling cart and yellow bin – and trash will be picked up every-other-week."##

The little green bin is proliferating everywhere these days. Just one more task that the green fascists have gotten all the citizens to pitch in and do. Plus you pay extra for the privilege of doing the work for the state. What a deal!

You'll recall how this make-work state project started. First you were told to bundle your newspapers and put them out in a stack. (Magazines in coated paper in a separate bundle, thank you.) This led, over time, to a glut of newsprint that put pulp mills in Maine out of business; then to such a tsunami of glut that the newspapers were going into landfills just the same. Just on separate trucks purchased and manned by the city for that purpose.

Then you were told to separate out the glass from the trash and put it in those open blue bins. Small at first but now these bins are gigundo in size and cost. This led, in pretty much no time at all, to a glut in recycled glass that led to huge mountains of glass trash growing quietly outside of all major cities. After all, there are only so many glass tiles and glass blocks that the market can absorb. Then it's right into the landfills again. On new separate trucks, of course.

Then came the plastic bins for plastic. Then the consolidation of the plastic and glass bins -- since it was all really going into the landfill it really didn't matter.

Then came the "Yard Waste" bins because, well, in large cities large cities were suppose to compost all this crap from yards into rich humus. This of course led to humus mountains outside of all large cities and programs where the cities would give you some compost if you picked it up. That you were hauling the composted yard waste back to the yard after it had been hauled to the compost heap from the yard was, well, sort of glossed over. But the compost mountains grew anyway.

At this point you had, behind your house or to the side, a trash can, a glass and plastic recycling bin, and a yard waste bin... minimum. But you do not, it seems, have enough bins behind your house since the city can, it seems, charge you for picking up each and every bin as well as sell you the bin in the first place.

This is a good deal for the city and now it seems the cities want to extend it to yet another bin. This is the small green bin for the "organic kitchen waste" previously known as "garbage" that previously went into, well, your "garbage can."

The deal here is that you are supposed to pick through your garbage with your hands and put into the new tiny green bin only the choicest bits of pre-compost compost. Then you set that bin out on the day for it's collection after a week of pawing through the crap.

That makes four (count 'em) 4 bins to keep track of and to pay for, each one more foul than the one before.

You'd think that an operation that had a monopoly on such a rich resource of salvage could make money operating it. You'd be right. It makes money by charging you more for doing its work for it. And by selling you yet another bin.

But there is hope for the guerrillas among us. These new green bins, being vile and odiferous, are the perfect means of smuggling toxic chemicals out of the house and into the landfills without paying for Hazmat service.

Let's say that, after the forced retirement of the incandescent bulb, and the forced import of mercury filled bulbs into your house you actually break one. (Hey, it could happen.) With the little green bin you can just hide the shards under the kitty litter and avoid the $2,500 clean-up fee from the EPA.

I know that lots of cities are meeting their budget shortfalls not by firing staff but by actually hiring Garbage Cops to patrol your bins, but I'm willing to bet these dolts are not going to be digging into kitty litter and kitchen waste. I'm betting they'll be the number one cops in the doughnut shops for 95% of their shifts.

So, you know that pile of old dead flourescent tubes you've got in the garage because you're not willing to pay the city the $50 for the "special pickup?" Get yourself a teeny-weeny green bin and some kitty litter.

Problem solved.

Posted by Vanderleun at August 31, 2011 4:20 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

I was wondering what to do with all the dead rats that I recently poisoned. Now I know that I can put them in the green bins along with the kitty litter.

Very eco.

Posted by: Promethea at August 31, 2011 5:07 PM

all genders and demographics.....

You mean one of those kids is male? Naahhh.

Posted by: Rob De Witt at August 31, 2011 5:16 PM

Sure, one of the "girls" is actually a guy. Who are we to impose gender roles on them?

Posted by: Stephen Borchert at August 31, 2011 6:15 PM

Ah for the good old days in Whitewater, Montana, where, if you had trash, no matter what it was, it went into the fire pit. That fire pit burned everything. Diapers, paper, plastic...which is fun to watch burn because it creates different colored flames. Food scraps not fed to the pigs, into the fire. Yep. Fire is a wonderfitzischer resource. They should try that in Portland.

Posted by: Jewel at August 31, 2011 7:36 PM

We have three bins. I throw anything and everything in all of them

just for sheer spite.


Posted by: jwm at August 31, 2011 8:36 PM

They should set fire to Portland as the primary step in recycling the Left Coast.

Posted by: Peccable at September 1, 2011 7:55 AM

A friend of mine in Montana decided that composting was just the ticket to a greener guilt free lifestyle. His compost pile brought about some amazing results. It proved to be a magnet for all sorts of critters, especially skunks. The neighborhood dogs loved it as well. They would fight the skunks for first dibs at the garbage with predictable results. Soon the whole neighborhood smelled of eu de mercaptiain, His neighbors all hated him, and his friends stopped visiting the ranch because it, quite frankly, stank. God grant these folks have similar results.

Posted by: stuart at September 1, 2011 8:57 AM

I'll bet this piece has their dander up in the halls of Portland Waste Management, or whatever they call it. We have garbage police in my little corner of the world, too. They come around and sort through the trash looking for violations. I have been raising hell about it with my neighbors, but can't get them motivated. It reminds me of... Oh, never mind. I'll get wrapped around the axle over this... Amazing what Americans will accept nowadays.

Posted by: Captain Dave at September 1, 2011 9:36 AM

you forgot to mention that the compost bin will be picked up every week while the "regular" garbage is now picked up only twice/month.

Posted by: jcg at September 1, 2011 9:44 AM

We should compost Mayor Adams, and only after first requiring him to go to court to change his name. I suggest "Gooftard McNinnypants."

Posted by: Don Rodrigo at September 1, 2011 10:56 AM

Something will definitely be rotten in Denmark!

Posted by: Eunice at September 1, 2011 7:09 PM


Way back in 1996 when I bought my first house, I asked the sellers what the 2' X 5' dead spot in the back lawn by the neighbor's fence was. They told me they had a compost heap. I bought the house (it was cheap, and my first house to boot), and blocked the dead spot off with landscaping bricks and planted hostas (you CAN'T kill hostas, TRUST ME!) Then the next store neighbor came by one day and told me truth about the compost heap. Like Stuart said about his friend's attempt to compost, it stunk to high heaven (especially in the summer in direct sunlight), killed their lawn (as noted), and they ended up having to throw out the heap in the trash anyhow.

Seems they forgot the first rule of composting: you're supposed to turn the pile over regularly with a shovel, rake, or hoe. Cuts down on the anaerobic bacteria that decompose plant life and make awful smells as byproducts.

Posted by: mmack at September 2, 2011 6:45 AM

I had a prob a few years ago with unknowns "sorting through" my garbage/trash/recyclables. Just as in the "Father Bakes Some Brownies" story, I added a little dog/cat poop to each bin. Prob solved instantly.

Posted by: KJeffV at September 3, 2011 6:06 AM

So, you know that pile of old dead flourescent tubes you've got in the garage

Set garbage can outside. Insert tubes. Drop sledge-hammer. Add more garbage. Problem solved.

Posted by: Max at September 3, 2011 4:14 PM

Oh, great. If Portland has added another bin, can Seattle be far behind? I purely hate these idiots, but since I refuse to have CFLs in my house, my only revenge is refusing to wash my garbage. They get very smelly milk jugs and I'm sure the peanut butter jars don't smell much better after two weeks in the sun. And sometimes I put recyclables, like kipper herring tins, in the garbage. I denounce myself to the People's Collective.

Posted by: Carol at September 4, 2011 2:11 PM

Is there ANY way we can stop this mandatory recycling nonsense?
My old house, in a historic district, has a service alley that runs behind the house specifically for trash cans, for workers who service electric, telephone, and cable wiring, as well as other maintenance work. The oversized trash barrels serve four households each. The city has decided to do away with this convenient, out-of-sight trash collection system and force us to use individual cans that we have to roll out into the street (along with a separate barrel for recycling).
The only possible reason for forcing us into individual trash barrels is so they can begin to fine us for not sorting everything properly -- not just for not making any effort at all (my current stance), but for trying but making an error. So they're ditching a system that has served us well since World War II to force us into doing more work (we're already paying city employees handsomely for that work), turn the streets of our lovely historic neighborhood into trash bin obstacle courses, and then fine us for doing it wrong. How many new employees will they need to hire to sort through our trash and decide whether we've passed or failed?
I HATE THIS. How can we make it stop?

Posted by: pa at September 11, 2011 12:46 PM