Wednesday, 4 April 2012


Dear Reader, 

There was a time when this was all straight-forward.  There used to be one bin that everything went into.  Once a week some hairy men would turn up and empty the bin. At Christmas you gave them a tip and that was that. Those days are long gone. I liked those days. Now you could be faced with a Dilemma. You may have anywhere between one and a gazillion bins, all of which serve a specific purpose. I feel a bullet-pointed list coming on:

• The Black Bin, otherwise known as the everything else bin. This is the home of all the stuff that doesn't belong  in the other bins.

• The Green Bin, in my location, it is the same size as the black bin. For me this is cardboard, newspaper, print outs of blog posts rejected by the Dear Lady Wife, catalogues etc.

• The Brown Bin(s), much smaller, for recyclable food waste, potato peelings and the like. I don't need these as I compost all of that, as a consequence the brown bins became storage for something in the shed. I would tell you exactly what, but the BBQ is wintering in the shed and does not want to be disturbed.

• The Green Sacks, which are designed for garden waste, grass cuttings etc. I do use these, but only as a transport mechanism when I go to the tip. They also fly around the garden in high winds and regularly have to be rescued from trees, neighbours gardens, Hawaiian Islands and the International Space Station.

This is all fine and dandy. There is a bit of a lottery around post/zip code as to what receptacles you will receive and what you need to do. I am one of the luckier ones, you could receive anywhere up to nine multi-coloured receptacles. I do understand that we should recycle what we can and when we can, [Significant damning pause which will undoubtedly be followed by an equally damning statement] but, there is a problem... 

Depending on which borough or state or county or post/zip code you happen to live in, the frequency of collection, in which order and which receptacle can be a bit of a mystery. So much so that you might not want to play the game at all, instead wait for one of the neighbours to put out their receptacles and then copy. I am in this camp. I could do something sensible about my situation as the problem is not that hard to solve. On alternate weeks the following happens; either the black bin or everything else.

This is complicated too!
Not so hard you would think. Stick it in the calendar, download an app, or, perish the thought remember. My brain does not like having to remember stuff, especially recent stuff that it considers trivial. Ask me about who was reigning pop charts in 1981 and I am all over it. Ask me which bin should be put out this week, I have no idea. Not only about which, but also about which day.

I rely on my dear long-suffering neighbours to sort this out for me. When one (or more of them) make a commitment to putting black or green stuff out I will follow. I usually wait for a consensus, not because I don't trust my neighbours, it's just a matter of timing. I return from work, if there are bins out I note the colour and react accordingly.

If there is one bin out I am a little suspicious. What if all my neighbours think like me except one. Are we all sheep, following one neighbour bin-putter-outer? If so, what if the neighbour decides to mess with his / her  followers and put the bin out a day early? Worse still, what if the neighbour decides to put out the wrong bin on the right collection day? This is a Dilemma. It probably has horns. Well, I can't think about this sort of thing for too long, my brain will start to melt. Sometimes trust is the only answer.

On a lighter note my Father-in-Law seems to have a simpler solution, which does not involve watching any neighbours. Having nothing better to do with his time, he lies awake in bed like a coiled python (in pyjamas), awaiting a noise that indicates the collectors have arrived. The noise prompts a mad flurry of activity. Run down the stairs, collect bins from the garage and then pounce like a hungry leopard (in slippers) to present the appropriate bin to the appropriate collector. He then returns to bed like a satiated Lion (in pyjamas and dressing gown) and waits a week for the whole kerfuffle to happen again. This whole process drives my Mother-in-Law insane.

I write this after having arrived home on the evening before collection day (I think). Surveying the cul-de-sac there is something wrong. Number one has a green bin out and number three has a black bin. This was what I was scared of, this is end of all things right and proper. I run round the close screaming, my brains leaking out of my ears, it is the end of days.

It's all too Munch!
More soon Dear Reader



  1. I hear you! I was at an SM mall in Manila a few weeks ago. They have 3 bins, one for paper, one for plastics, one for cans, etc. All well and noble, right? Then I saw an employee come by with a large black, plastic sack and empty ALL 3 bins into it. Go figure!

  2. Sounds like our Blue Box/Red Box dilemma. All the rest is garbage, except yard waste, which is only picked up once a month, and compostables, which is completely voluntary and independent. And all it takes to screw up the whole system is a Monday holiday.

  3. Yes a dilemma for got much easier here though. We have a tiny black bin for trash...all is well except it is easy for critters to knock over at night...same reason we cannot compost...even in the critter proof bins roof rats were able to tunnel under. So trash goes out early in the morning...but the recycle, which we no longer have to sort and the compost/yard waste can go out the night before...the bins are too large to be tipped. We used to have multiple bins where everything had to be sorted...then it was a dilemma here.
    Happy A-Z April!

  4. @Jeremy: You can lead a horse to water (and other home-spun nonsense)

    @Shelley and @M: It's confusing everywhere. What if I move house and have to learn all over again?