April 28, 2015

Big Garbage Season: April 28th, 2015

Today is known, in this household, as Father of 5Down* Day and Day Max Was Expected Day.  I guess Max didn’t want to share, because his actual birthday isn’t until next week on May 5th (as every year since 2001).

As the month of sleep screeches to a halt, with some snow still on the ground, last night Mike asked me whether we had a theme for May.  I have not yet come up with one, but I will keep you posted.

In the meantime, although we’ve yet to enter real springtime weather, we have entered a seasonal event that always brings much happiness and very much consternation.  It’s called “Big Garbage Day.”

For those of you who don’t live in my neck of the woods, BGD is that yearly (or, until last fall, bi-annual) day on which the garbage collection throws caution to the wind, and accepts just about anything you want to put out there.  Of course, all the usual sorting and clear-bagged rules apply, but you can also put out pieces of furniture or household building materials.  Importantly, the bag limit soars from 8 (including recyclables) to a giddying 20. I cannot claim to know all the rules or inner workings, but if you actually care, go to the VWRM’s site where you will find they erroneously refer to it as Spring/Fall Clean-up.

Why do I call it a season, though?  Because it goes on for 2 weeks and putting waste out a full 2 weeks ahead of time is permitted. Therefore, in theory, there can be heaps of discarded stuff at various locations over a 4 week period.  Luckily, we live in an area that seems to be made up of people who apparently feel that 2 weeks is far too restrictive.  Hence, we get to spend at least 3 weeks to one month driving through ever-increasing piles of trash on the shoulders of the road.  Ever-increasing is not really right, though, because this season also includes the scavengers.  Much like the blossoming of spring flowers attracts the pollen gatherers, the items by the side of the road beckon folk from all over.  It’s kind of like an on-going, all-day yard sale.  Some people seem to prefer to come after dark, so you can hear rattling around at all hours.  Other people prefer to drive around and screech to a stop at the sight of something interesting.

I’m all for re-using, but it is a little (okay, a LOT) nerve wracking by the time it is finally over.

The hardest part is The Day.  The Day that you are assigned to have YOUR trash heap removed is very exciting, but very hard on the nerves.  See, in spite of adding extra guys and working as hard as possible, there is no way to possibly collect it all by the usual end-of-day for garbage collectors.  Instead, they start at the crack of dawn and keep going long after dark.  One year, it was past 11:00pm when they made it to our house.  It’s almost as great as Christmas except suddenly all the mess and hazard is gone, rather than mess and hazards suddenly arriving.

Each year has a theme, too!  One year, it was all toilets.  It’s truly remarkable how many people stockpile a broken toilet for up to 6 months (or, this year, up to 12 months) in order to avoid delivering it to the “dump” themselves.  Some years, it’s all about the worn-out mattresses.  So far this year, I’m giving sofas the win, but we’ve barely edged into the beginning of the season.  I can’t wait for the year of broken ladders.  That sounds like a great opportunity for art.

In all seriousness, though, I think it is a great idea because it forces people to be careful with what they waste throughout the year.  Do you really need that crap you’ll not be able to rid yourself of for 6 months?  I didn’t think so.

Sadly, one of the reasons our area is so piled is that we live near a low-income housing area and it seems this means folk have lots of GIANT plastic toys and totally run-down furniture.  My thought is that likely people take what they can get and then have to hang onto it until BGD.  Then, of course, out it goes…a picker grabs it…it goes into someone else’s house…who sends it out the next BGD.  It’s kind of a closed system.

BGD: when everyone 5Downs in a big, big way.  If I’m feeling gross, I might snap some photos in the coming weeks.

Day 179 scorecard: 895 down, 930 to go

* well, this year, because it IS my Father’s birthday, but 5Down was not around last year

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