Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Struggling With Trash

11 Days…

With the cleaning out of this apartment a great many things are being thrown out. One of the concerns I have as this winnowing out continues, is whether or not the trash collectors will “accept” what I am putting out for disposal. In some ways the city is to be admired for its policies regarding trash management, recycling, and for its environmental awareness. But along with the good, I find room for questioning some of their reasoning. There seem to be some things they just won’t take away and I have to wonder what the implication is. Are there things we are not allowed to throw away? Almost two weeks ago I put out an assortment of unwanted cups, glasses and bowls, all properly bagged on the designated day. They remain in the trash enclosure today, untouched, passed over, rejected. I also noticed this morning that after three weeks of not being picked up, some old bedding is now tagged as ‘oversized trash,’ with a telephone number to call for pick up service. There is a $50 charge for pick up of each individual item of oversized trash. How are rolled and tied blankets seen as oversized? It strikes me as plain old burnable trash, hardly oversized.

One concern I had was over the large number of books that had to be disposed of. Throughout the long process of weeding out my collection of books, the idea of throwing out books—and so many of them—has troubled me. So, what are the alternatives? Give them away? 95% of them are in English and hard to pass off. Give them to the library? The library doesn’t want them. Sell them? That requires renting a truck to haul the thirty-three boxes to Kanda, where one of the used bookstores might buy them. The problem is, I don’t have the time for any of these alternatives, and so I’m left with the prickly solution of throwing the books away.

I put out the last of them, another fifteen boxes, last night in the pouring rain—visions of the rain soaked boxes and books tumbling out into a mountain of sodden pulp that would not be picked up. I covered the seven foot stack of boxes with as many plastic sheets as I could find, and I guess that was enough to keep them dry. When I looked out this morning they were all gone.

Next chore: Listing the contents and value of each box being shipped to Florida. Afraid there will be some guesswork with the contents, since I did not keep a record of what exactly went into each box. Half the boxes I can honestly describe as books. The others I will call household items and hope it serves.

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About Me

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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America