Saturday, 20 November 2010

Our bins (and rubbish in general)

We get our rubbish picked up once a week. We put the bins out on the kerb ("curb") on Monday night, and the bin lorry comes on Tuesday.

It's really cool: the driver doesn't get out of his lorry. An arm comes out of the side, picks up the bin, and empties it into the inside of the lorry. You have to leave the bins with the handle towards the curb, and a bit of space between them.

I think the same lorry takes both the recycling and the landfill waste. I'm pretty sure they go into separate halves of the lorry.

We have three bins: a great big recycling one (it's a bit bigger than normal-sized bins at home); a small landfill one (it's the same size as half-size bins at home); and a great big garden waste one. (I must find out if we can put food into the garden waste bin. And no, we don't compost. But the waste company surely does.)

In Northern Ireland, waste disposal is part of your rates (property tax).... every bi-week they come and take away one or other of your bins: recycling (and garden waste, during the summer) one week, and landfill the next week. The bins are about the same size (big, but not *quite* as big as big bins here.)

Bins here are wheeled, and the binmen in NI have to manually wheel the bins over to the arms at the back of the bin lorries.

One cool thing about NI is that there are lots of municipal dumps you can take arbitrary stuff to and dump it. They have lots of separate skips for different stuff (wood, batteries, paint, cardboard, metal, flourescent tubes, clothes, bottles, cans etc etc), and skips for just landfill waste. And they don't charge. It's a pretty great system. Also, if you've got too much waste than will fit in your landfill bin in two weeks (or if you forget to put your bin out!!!) you can just bring a couple of rubbish bags to the dump. Phew.

I don't know how people dispose of arbitrary stuff here in California. Mostly they have yard sales, as far as I can see, but ... they must have to go to the dump *sometime*. I must find out.

We pay about $30 a month for garbage charges. The company that handles it is called West Valley Recycles. They're a pleasure to deal with.

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