By Dan Verner
I think of this every Wednesday evening when I set out our bins. The most trash we’ve ever put out was four cans when we were remodeling a room, but four happens every week with recycling. The City of Manassas provided cheerful green bins for our cast off paper, metal, glass and plastic, and we generally filled one of those and a couple of paper grocery bags. This morning I walked out to see what I thought was another recycling bin at the curb. That’s good, I thought. I need another container. But it wasn’t the answer to my first world recycling woes: it was a huge trash can that came to my shoulder (and I’m six feet tall, although I have been shrinking half an inch every decade. If I live long enough, I can be a part of a community theater production of The Wizard of Oz. Wait for it).
The new trash container, in which a family of four small people could make their home for months, is a wonder of blow-molded plastic and chromed steel, with sturdy wheels to make my job of bringing it from its lair beside the house to the curb for pickup the next morning. That occurs in the early afternoon: recycling is on the early shift, plucked from its station about 7 AM when the noise ordinance allows loud noises. And it is loud—now, it’s not dozens of metal trash cans being tossed around at 6 AM loud as happens in large cities, but I hear it every week and know that all’s right with the world.
So, we have added capacity for our recycling needs. I have a feeling that even a gargantuan bin is not going to measure up to the mounds of recyclables we generate each week. If we were illiterate and didn’t eat or use cleaning supplies or buy things that come in packages, we wouldn’t have this problem. I supposed it’s a self-inflicted wound and the reason we cut such a wide path is that we receive a lot of “bulk mail” (AKA “junk mail.” A friend recently retired from the Direct Mail Association, and he is an upstanding and outstanding person, so I don’t intend to disparage his former métier. “Direct mail” might be the only mail some people receive, and who doesn’t want to find out all about the Pillow Pet or the XHOSE? (I am not shouting: that’s how they write the name of their product) We also write a lot and go through paper by the ream for ideas and pieces that didn’t work out.
I’m glad we have recycling in Manassas, and even gladder, perhaps, that we have trash pickup. If you’ve ever been in a city during a garbage strike, you know what I mean. The situation just stinks. Give a cheer for the people whose business is picking up!
Thank you for listening to a little trash (and recycling) talk.
Following a 32-year career teaching English, creative writing, human relations, American and world civilization, ESOL, computer skills, guitar and song-writing, long-time Northern Virginia resident Dan Verner has produced novels, blogs, columns, devotionals, articles and the occasional poem. Dan serves as vice-president of Write by the Rails and has two published novels, “On Wings of the Morning” and its sequel “On the Wings of Eagle.”