In California, it’s pretty simple, we have these three large, color-coded trash cans – blue for recycling, green for composting, and black for landfill. Our trash is picked up once a week. Easy and peasy – to quote one of my first grade English Learners.
In New York, there are no (or few) cans. You separate your landfill trash and put it in a black or clear trash bag. The plastic/glass/metal recycling materials goes into a blue trash bag. Paper recycling goes into a different blue bag. All of the bags are placed at the edge of the sidewalk the night before collection, as all types of trash are collected one day a week – for us, it’s Monday – so we put it out Sunday night. In addition to the “all trash” pick up day, there are two other days at which you can put out black/clear landfill bags – for us, it’s Tuesday and Thursday nights. I assume the frequency of pick up has to do with the tight living quarters in the city. If everyone had to hold on to all of their trash for a whole week…I don’t even want to think about the smells and visuals of that quantity of trash.
The system works though it has its drawbacks. First, it’s kinda unsightly as it can sit out on the curb for most of the day. Second, it attracts…critters – the ones I’ve written about before and lots of flies. Third, it makes walking Dug a bit challenging as it’s like walking him past a veritable smorgasborg. It’s hard to get up any speed on our walks!
Also, I haven’t figured out how this works, but if you look at the photos, people tend to think of the “big” trash day as an opportunity to put out EVERYTHING they want to get rid of AND at the end of the month, many people are moving to new apartments so there is a LOT of other trash…hoping to be picked up by someone…anyone!
Finally, the City places trash cans on just about every corner so there is no excuse for dropping your trash on the ground. Sadly, it seems that the message is not clear as in certain areas, there is a LOT of trash on the ground. AND the corner trash cans are also often full so they are well-utilized – there is just a LOT of trash in a city!
Bottom line – trash is an interesting issue in urban settings. Something new to ponder…