Monday, April 19, 2010

Trash, Trucks and Garbage!

Today is Trash Day during No Impact Week. I'll be collecting everything I throw away so I can think about it later. I actually generate relatively little trash, generally, but I'm sure there's a lot I can still do.

By coincidence, Ed Kohler over at The Deets has posted a video about trash hauling in my beloved city of St. Paul. For those who aren't from these parts, believe it or not, every household has to contract separately for trash hauling, as if we were living out in the country. Don't they realize services are supposed to be one of the benefits of living in a city, I ask you?

This means six or more garbage trucks go down every alley once a week, breaking our pavements and spewing hydrocarbons, for no reason other than lack of public and political will.

Minneapolis, on the other hand, has organized contracts with trash hauling vendors, so only one truck goes down each alley. What a concept!

Ed explains it all:

There was some talk a few months ago that the city council might take up this issue, but I haven't heard anything about it lately.

For No Impact Week, I think I'll make a vow to organize my whole neighborhood to use just one trash hauler within the next six months. Or at least cut the number down substantially. It can be done. I don't even think it would be that hard.

One final thought about trash... The lyrics to the song "Garbage!" by Bill Steele, © 1969:

Mister Thompson calls the waiter,
orders steak and baked potato
Then he leaves the bone and gristle
and he never eats the skin
The busboy comes and takes it, with a cough contaminates it
As he puts it in a can with coffee grounds and sardine tins
Till the truck comes by on Friday and carts it all away
And a thousand trucks just like it
are converging on the Bay
Garbage, garbage, garbage, garbage
What will we do when there's no place left
To put all the garbage

Mister Thompson starts his Cadillac and
winds it up the freeway track
Leaving friends and neighbors in a hydrocarbon haze
He's joined by lots of smaller cars all
sending gases to the stars
There to form a seething cloud that hangs for thirty days
While the sun licks down upon
it with its ultraviolet tongues
Till it turns to smog and settles
down and ends up in our lungs

Garbage, garbage
We're filling up the sky with garbage
Garbage, garbage
What will we do
When there's nothing left to breathe but garbage

Getting home and taking off his shoes
he settles down with evening news
While the kids do homework with the TV in one ear
While Superman for the thousandth time
sells talking dolls and conquers crime
They dutifully learn the date of birth of Paul Revere
In the paper there's a piece about the mayor's middle name
And he gets it done in time to watch
the all-star bingo game

Garbage, garbage
We're filling up our minds with garbage
Garbage, garbage
What will we do when there's nothing left to read
And there's nothing left to hear
And there's nothing left to need
And there's nothing left to wear

And there's nothing left to talk about
And there's nothing to walk upon
And there's nothing left to care about
And nothing left to ponder on
And nothing left to see
And there's nothing left to do
And there's nothing left to be but garbage


Anonymous said...
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Ms Sparrow said...

Who do we complain to about the number of garbage trucks in St Paul? This has been going on for too many years!

Ed Kohler said...

Great idea on consolidating the block. That alone will cut down on the particulate matter you and your neighbors have to breath and reduce the chances that someone will bump into one of those beasts.

elena said...

Love the lyrics of that song.